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Business leaders ask govt to ‘do more’, avoid Sri-Lanka like crisis

The senior leadership of Businessman Group (BMG) has disputed the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) chief’s warning that Pakistan was on the verge of a catastrophe like that in Sri Lanka.

On Thursday, the brainstorming event was attended by more than 50 trade and business professionals, including well-known entrepreneurs like Muhammad Ali Tabba, Aqeel Karim Dhedhi, and Ali Jameel. The goal was to come up with practical ways to revitalize the faltering economy.

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They demanded that the government declare an economic emergency right now and set the dollar exchange rate for at least one month.

During a news conference, Head of the FPCCI Irfan Iqbal Sheikh stated that a national security crisis had arisen as a result of the sharp decline in the value of the rupee and that Pakistan would “become Sri Lanka” if the dollar’s appreciation was not restrained.

He said that because banks were providing letters of credit (LCs) at Rs242 for a dollar, importers were scrambling to secure dollars and, if the situation persisted, a fuel crisis would develop.

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The FPCCI head emphasized the government’s lack of commitment by claiming that it had failed to name a full-time governor for the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and that the acting governor is uninterested in meeting with the FPCCI leadership.

He further said that commercial banks were thus having a field day by engaging in exchange rate speculation, as seen by the forward purchase of a dollar at Rs245 per unit.

In order to prevent a catastrophic economic disaster, he advised the government to appoint a permanent SBP government within the next 48 hours and fix rupee-dollar parity for the next 15 days.

KCCI President Muhammad Idrees said that the decision to prohibit the import of raw materials in order to lower the import bill should be reevaluated since it would have a negative impact on the economy because it will cause industrial processes to halt, which will slow down development and reduce export volume.

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