The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Mian Anjum Nisar has said that the industrial sector in Pakistan has been expanding owing to encouraging policies and good initiatives of the present regime, as the construction package has started giving results while the CPEC second round is also generating demand.
In a statement issued here on Monday, the country’s apex trade body chief observed that the SBP’s concessionary financing Temporary Economic Refinance Facility for plant and machinery imports is attracting an overwhelming response, as Rs388 billion loans for 372 projects have been requested to the banks and out of which Rs157 billion for 203 projects have been approved, which is surely good for industrial expansion both in exports and local sectors. He said that growth in construction sector will have a great impact on economic development and job creation. “We appreciate the efforts of the government to cut power tariff for SMEs which covers almost 90 percent of the industry and especially the efforts of the SBP to promote economic growth in the country and provide liquidity and other support to businesses during Covid-19 are really appreciable.”
He said the central bank has taken various steps to mitigate the impact of corona virus on economic growth. Since the onset of pandemic-related economic pressure, reducing policy rate from 13.25 per cent to 7 percent, besides allowing one-year extension in principal payments along with rescheduling and restructuring of loans without affecting the credit history of borrowers. There are several other measures taken by the SBP to lessen the impact of Covid-19, he added.
Quoting the reports, he observed that the demand was contained owing to corona pandemic globally which would now pick up after the two years of slowdown, as the steel, cement a lot of other construction allied industries are showing positive growth. In the same way low interest rates have also generated a fresh wave of demand in the automobile sector, as motorbike sale has already shown high growth and then cars sales are giving positive results.
Our current export potential is standing at around $26 billion while monthly exports can be lifted to the volumes of around $2.3 billion from present figure of almost $2, he said.
He expressed the hope that the capacity expansion in export-oriented as well as the local industry along with remittances’ growth and low oil prices would push a long-term growth momentum at fast pace. He applauded the government to manage keeping primary balance at 0.57 percent, which is a positive sign for the fiscal sector, as the central bank has also expected that the pre-pandemic path of fiscal consolidation will resume as economic activity recovers in coming quarters.
Mian Anjum Nisar said that the stage is now set for greater stabilization and enhanced domestic productivity that would definitely ease the ever-soaring inflation, boost businesses and create more employment opportunities, as it is the fact that the general public has been suffering due to rising inflation and unemployment.
He said the government should make every possible effort to provide relief to masses. He said since all the economic indicators are moving in positive direction the government should now divert its full attention to share the benefits of this positive movement in economic spheres with the public.
The FPCCI President expressed the hope that with the arrival of imported wheat and sugar, prices of these commodities in the market will start declining.
He suggested that the government should enhance releasing of wheat to flour mills to ensure adequate supply of flour to consumers, besides monitoring the milling of wheat by flour mills at the same time. With the import of a total of 1.8 million tons of wheat and the arrival of imported sugar prices of the commodities will fall in the market, pushing down the inflation rate in coming days which is the big concern of both businessmen as well as the general public.
He also warned that agri sector has still been proving to be the weakest link in the current macroeconomic planning and strategies because locust attacks, poor governance, bad planning, climate change and lack of investment in seed technology and agri research have already resulted in shortage of wheat, sugar and cotton. Moreover, the import bill of cotton would also be substantially high owing to record low production.