Peshawar   -   The business community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, opposing an increase of 150 basis points to 13.75 percent in its benchmark policy rate by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), has said the decision will prove detrimental to the economy.

The businessmen demanded a deeper cut in policy rate to support weaken economy and flourish businesses and industrial growth. The demand was made in a joint meeting of traders and industrialists, chaired by Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) president Hasnain Khurshid here on Tuesday. The meeting was attended besides others by the SCCI office-bearers Imran Mohmand and Javed Akhtar, traders and industrialists in a large number.

The business community urged the Prime Minister and federal Minister for Finance to take notice and reduce in interest rate at an optimal level. The SBP has previously made increase policy rate by 2.5 percent, while recent increase of 1.5 percent announced by the SBP which is the highest mark-up rate in Pakistan that would enhance cost of industrial production and create difficulties in businesses and trade activities, Hasnain told the meeting.

The meeting rejected the recent hike in policy rate and termed it as unaffordable for the country’s economy, businesses and industries, and urged to revise the decision immediately. The SCCI chief continued to say that the hike would bring a new wave of inflation in the country, and would also negatively impact the country’s exports.

The SCCI chief observed that the country’s economy is already reeling and warned the economy would be completely destroyed after the SBP’s decision of increase in the policy rate. He said the current statistical figures are indicating negative growth in coming days.

Economy has been brought on the brink of collapse amid gradual strengthening of the dollar against Pakistan rupee, Khurshid noticed.

The SCCI chief called for revisiting economic policies. He said the economy of the country is also facing recession and in the prevailing circumstances increase in interest rate will affect industrial and commercial activities.

The SCCI president said that in present scenario, the country’s economy needs support and every decision be taken with due care and consideration. He urged the Acting Governor SBP, Dr Murtaza Syed to take back the decision of increase in interest rate in order to protect the trade and commercial activities in the country.