By Asad Cheema
ISLAMABAD: Former President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt on Friday said the decision to ban the import of luxury items is correct but not enough.
The decision will reduce the import bill by only one billion dollars per month therefore more items should be added to this list to strengthen foreign exchange reserves and the rupee, he said.
Shahid Rasheed butt said that the country is facing a crisis of edible oil and rice which needs to be resolved while the export of food items should be banned completely.
The flight of the dollar should be stopped because it is affecting the economy and no one will be safe from its effects, he added.
The business leader said that ban on the import of these luxury items alone would prove to be insufficient. We do not need apples from New Zealand, Swiss chocolates, French water, Australian fruits, American ketchup, Italian ice-creams and imported seafood.
Banning foreign travel aimed at leisure would save $1.5 billion which should be considered by our policymakers, he stressed.
He said that Indonesia has banned the export of edible oil since April 28, which is increasing its price all over the world, including Pakistan. India has slashed tariffs to reduce the price of edible oil, but no decision has been taken in Pakistan which is surprising.
Mr. Butt said that there was a need to ban the export of rice and curb hoarding which was causing its price to rise sharply.
The government should look after the benefit of the people instead of the exporters and traders.
Inflation is rising rapidly due to the continuous increase in the value of the US dollar which is also affecting exports. Imports are also becoming more expensive and loans and liabilities have increased by Rs. 3700 billion due to exchange rate erosion.
Not a single sector of the economy and no one in the country will be safe
from the flight of the dollar, so the weak economy should not be further
weakened by delaying important economic decisions, he warned.