LAHORE - Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Mian Nauman Kabir has stressed the State Bank of Pakistan to take notice of the arbitrariness of the banks that are not opening the Letter of Credits (LCs) and charging Rs10-20 extra than the inter-bank rate. Talking to a delegation of businessmen, he said that the SBP should intervene immediately otherwise the situation would be further aggravated.

He added that the silence of the State Bank of Pakistan on these issues is not only the surprising but alarming. “The banks are taking full advantage of the helplessness of the business community and are also charging 10 to 20 rupees extra from the inter-bank rate. It seems that the banks are independent and are not answerable to any authority as no one is asking them for what they are doing. Mian Nauman Kabir said that various members of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry have approached the LCCI and informed that they are facing huge difficulties in opening the Letter of Credits because of harsh attitude of the banks that are also charging well extra amount from the inter-bank rate. “Business community is the backbone of the economy as the government generates more than 90 per cent of its total resources from this sector therefore it can make a great contribution in turning Pakistan into one of the greatest nations in the world provided due facilitation and an enabling business doing atmosphere are ensured. The LCCI president said that the economy was already facing severe challenges and lack of cooperation from the banking sector to the business community will add fuel to the fire as without a due role of the businessmen, it will be almost impossible to put economy back on track.

“Instead of being a silent spectator, the State Bank of Pakistan should take immediate notice of the miseries of the business community and issue directions to all the banks to open letter of credits without any hindrance and also not charge extra amount from the business community as far as the inter-bank rate is concerned,” he added.

Kabir informed the businessmen that recently he has fruitful meetings with the Federal Commerce Minister, Minister for Industries and Production, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue and Foreign Secretary.

He said that as a result of his meetings, the government accepted the LCCI demand and released the consignments stuck at ports and airports and granted one-time special permission to release the consignments to salvage the importers. He said that the State Bank of Pakistan should direct all the banks to play the role as facilitator to the business community instead adding to their miseries.