ISLAMABAD (Agencies) - President Asif Ali Zardari has assured traders and businessmen that the government will soon announce cut in interest rate and electricity tariff. He said Ministry of Finance has been directed to lower mark-up rate. Zardari said the current economic turmoil could have been averted had billions in assistance and remittances been wisely spent on infrastructure development. "We could have averted the present difficult economic situation if tens of billions of dollars received in assistance and foreign remittances during the past several years after 9/11 had been wisely spent on infrastructure development instead of importing consumer goods," Zardari said. He made the remarks while talking to businessmen here at the President House. The President asked the businessmen to step forward and play their role in overcoming the current economic and financial difficulties. Stressing the need for innovative and bold approaches he gave the example of Dubai, which despite its tiny size and small population had attracted hundreds of billions of dollars in investment. He pointed that it even attracted tourists on a large scale by developing a sizeable tourism industry. The President said that he will hold similar consultative meetings with representatives of business, industry and commerce in future also. He said that meetings of relevant ministries with representatives of different sectors of business and industry should be held on a regular basis to propose solutions to the problems peculiar to that sector. He asked Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin to meet business representatives on a regular basis. The members of the business community assured the President of their support in overcoming the current financial crisis and lauded the business friendly policies of the present government to attract more investment in different sectors of industry and commerce. The meeting was attended by Saleem Mandviwala, Chairman BOI, Syed Asif Shah, Secretary Commerce, Shahab Khawaja, Chairman Revenue Division, Muhammad Ayub Tareen, A/Secy Finance, SM Munir, Haji Masood, Khalid Tawab, Zahid Hussain, A Haseeb Khan, Masood Naqi, Yahyha Polaki, Majid Aziz, Arshad Farooque, Fazal Jalil, Capt Moiz and Parwaiz Sohail. Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday said water shortage had seriously affected agriculture and there was a need to take quantum jump in devising schemes for optimal utilisation of irrigation water. In his remarks made during a presentation on drip irrigation here, the President said water which was an essential resource for producing food and electricity, was also a fast depleting resource. He said experts predict that future wars would be fought over water resources rather than on fuel, oil or jingoistic considerations. The President advised the Food and Agriculture Ministry to have a detailed discussion on drip irrigation with the private sector experts to examine feasibility of micro-irrigation, and explore ways to securing long-term easy loans for financing a durable scheme. Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Zia ur Rehman, Secretary Food and Agriculture Ch Abdul Karim, DG Water Management and Jameel Ahmed Mughal also attended the meeting.