ISLAMABAD: Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has expressed great concerns over the record devaluation of rupee that has tumbled to over Rs.128 against a dollar in the inter-bank rate and called upon the caretaker government to take urgent measures to stabilize the local currency as falling value of rupee would further enhance the cost of doing business and adversely impact industry and exports.
He said that the local industry was using most of the imported raw materials for manufacturing of various products and the rupee devaluation would cause manifold increase in the input cost and make our products highly uncompetitive in the international market leading to further decline in exports. He said that the rupee has fallen around 20 percent over the last eight months and added that the latest devaluation would prove extremely disastrous for the common man as it would unleash a new wave of inflation in the country. He said the depreciation of rupee would make electricity very costly as Pakistan was generating most of the energy through thermal fuel leading to enhanced manufacturing cost.
Sheikh Amir Waheed said that the devaluation of rupee would also cause manifold increase in the foreign debt of the country as fall of one rupee against dollar translated into hike of Rs.60 billion in foreign debt. He said the falling value of rupee would also upset the business plans and future projections of the private sector as businessmen needed a stable currency for sustainable business planning.
He said that under the present situation, industry has only two options i.e. either to close down production units or increase price of its products and become uncompetitive in the world market. He stressed that in order to overcome the current weak situation of the economy, the government should urgently start the process of consultation with all stakeholders including the private sector to develop a consensus roadmap for economic recovery and avoid resorting to massive devaluation of rupee.
ICCI President said that the country’s trade deficit has already swelled to over $37 billion and the only way to bring down the deficits was to boost exports for which the cost of manufacturing should be reduced or at least brought at par with regional countries.