SITE Association demands reversing policy rate at 7%

SITE Association demands reversing policy rate at 7%

KARACHI: Site Association of Industries (SAI) has demanded the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to immediately withdraw the increase in policy rate and bring it back at 7 per cent.

In a statement issued on Thursday, SAI President Abdul Rasheed rejected further 100 basis points rise in interest rates calling for its immediate reversal especially when the industry is facing forced closures due to a severe gas shortage.

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In a statement, SAI president said that free floating exchange rate works as a shock absorber which discourages imports in a timely manner thereby keeping current account in check.

SBP in their monetary policy statement have stated that inflation is due to supply side issues further fuelled by higher commodity prices and up to 70 per cent of current account deficit is due to rising global commodity prices.

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Abdul Rasheed demanded reversing the rate to 7 per cent as industries are already facing severe losses due to gas closure industry, a crisis of the magnitude of COVID 19. “With industries facing huge challenges due to closure of gas, one sided minimum wage notification, an interest rate hike could well prove to be the last nail in the coffin for troubled industrialists.”

Terming the interest rate hike detrimental for Pakistan’s economy especially for Government of Pakistan, he said, “An increase in interest rate of 275 basis points since September would result in higher fiscal deficit by increasing interest expense by Rs1 trillion on Rs26 trillion domestic debt while reducing direct taxes due to lower profitability of companies on account of higher interest expense”, he concluding that keeping raising interest rate at 7 per cent was the main reason that GOP avoided twin deficits having a better performance on the fiscal front despite deteriorating external position.

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SAI president discarded the idea of keeping real interest rates mildly positive as most of the countries are maintaining steep negative real interest rates including USA and UK. Terming the reversal of policy rate down to 7 per cent critical for both the private sector and GOP, Abdul Rashid Said, “it is imperative that SBP reverts its decision of raising the policy rates as it is detrimental to both the private sector as well the GOP without aiding at all in improving the current account position.”

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