Economy to achieve 5pc GDP growth: Wathra

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Amanullah Khan

Karachi—The Governor State Bank (SBP) Ashraf Mahmood Wathra has indicated that the macro economic indicators are bound to have a positive impact on growth as the end of the fiscal to witness 5 per cent GDP growth rate in Pakistan.
He was speaking at an interactive session with the leaders of the business community at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and industry where besides leading business houses, the presidents of all the commercial banks were also present here Thursday.
Replying to the points raised by SM Muneer, Chief Executive of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) the governor said that the central bank disburses only to a certain sector of refund claims and never sit on it and passes it on to the claimant with out any delay. He however also invited the attention of the business leaders towards some serious malpractices by the members of business community for misusing the facility of refund claims on import and exports. He said that many cases of false claims were caught during last two years such as claiming refund on one import consignment for three times and export payments without shipments, these are serious malpractices and the central bank is firm to take stern action against the guilty, he however suggested to the representatives of the trade bodies to tell their members to desist such practices in the interest of the national economy.
SM Muneer had pointed out that one of the reasons for contraction in exports is the huge amount of refund claims running around Rs6 billion were hanging in balance for over two three years. This has created financial crunch in the export oriented industries and should be addressed with out loss of time to give a push to the exports.
The governor however agreed for immediate disbursement of refund claims; however he pointed out that the declining export is a global phenomenon and it is not in the case Pakistan alone, the export volumes of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China etc also slashed considerably. He appreciated the efforts of SM Muneer in weeding out the corruption from TDAP to zero level while some quarters are unnecessarily raising accusing finger at performance of TDAP despite the fact that the present leadership at TDAP has injected a new life in the TDAP. The governor however remarked that TDAP leadership should keep on working without lending an ear to elements of the vested interest.
Regarding a question raise by Shaikh Khalid Tawwab, Senior vice President FPCCI the SBP governor welcomed the decision of FPCCI for including the SBP representative in the CPEC Committee of the FPCCI. Regarding opening of banking channels with Iran, he said that the work on restoring banking facility is being done actively however at the moment the trade financing can be done through Asian Currency Unit for
trade transaction with Iran.
Replying to another question regarding borrowing from IMF which always tied with certain dictations which causes economic irritants for local economic conditions, those economies like Turkey and India who managed to get out of the IMF program have used their will for developing their economies.
The governor who declined to respond political side of the question said that Pakistan has borrowed only $6 billion from IMF as far as coming out of the IMF program is the question to be responded by the government.
Earlier speaking on the occasion Rauf Alam President FPCCI while appreciating the SBP Governor for his efforts as one of the best financial regulators helping to enhance country’s trade. He informed that FPCCI has formed a special committee on CPEC which has been acknowledged by the government also while SBP has also been included as a part of this committee.
While acknowledging the 42 year low interest rate in Pakistan, FPCCI president suggested for further slash in policy rate as well as special package for those who will trade through CPEC so that Pakistan could compete with Chinese exporters and traders.
Speaking on the occasion Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Bag, Chairman FPCCI standing committee on Banking, credit and finance expressed his concern over the delay in opening of letter of credit for the alternative energy projects. “The business community wishes to know whether SBP can arrange substantial foreign exchange to import plant and machinery for power projects under CPEC”, he said.

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