LAHORE: The government will have to stop dollar flight to reduce the pressure from foreign exchange reserves.
These views were expressed by the LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir while addressing an interactive session with the Lahore Economic Journalists Association (LEJA) at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan, Vice President Haris Ateeq, President LEJA Muhammad Sudhir Chaudhry, LEJA body members and LCCI Executive Committee Members Ali Afzal and Ateeq-ur-Rehman also spoke on the occasion.
LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that trade in local currencies, particularly with China, will help Pakistan to end the burden of relying on USD in bilateral trade and to bring down the trade deficit.
He said that historic devaluation in Pak-rupee has been recorded against the USD during the ongoing financial year. He said that trade deficit is one of the major reasons of rupee devaluation.
They said that the currency swap agreements with not only regional countries but with Russia will help make Pakistani currency stronger as weak Pak-rupee against the USD has become a serious matter of concern for the economy. They said that Pak-rupee devaluation has made the imports of raw materials and other necessities for the industrial sector more costly.
LCCI President said that said that Pakistan’s mutual trade volume only with China is more than USD 13 billion and if the country makes currency swap agreements with regional countries in general and with China in particular, it will significantly lift pressure off the foreign exchange reserves and dependency on the dollar will be decreased.
LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and Vice President Haris Ateeq called for a National Economic Policy to cope the economic challenges saying that all segments should be on one page on this issue. They said that all the stakeholders must be taken on board while formulating the National Economic Policy.
The LCCI office-bearers said that COVID-19 has produced extra ordinary challenges for the economies around the globe and forced Pakistan to go to the IMF because of critical economic scenario. They said that the government will have to promote documented economy.
The LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said “we have to make role of SMEs meaningful to enhance our exports” and added that the government should provide conducive business environment and facilities to the SME sector. He said that the major issue being faced by the SMEs is lack of access to the finance. SMEs have only 6% of the total credit being given to the private sector.
He called for the promotion of renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on costly electricity through thermal means and to reduce the oil import bill. He said that the government should also make price control mechanism effective to control inflation.
The LCCI office-bearers said that non-traditional sectors, particularly pharmaceutical, engineering and Halal food should be focused to give a quantum jump to the exports. He said that product and market diversification is need of the hour. They also shed light on the priorities for the ongoing year saying that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry is focusing both trade and industry.