ISLAMABAD                -              Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has asked the government to immediately withdraw hike in prices in daily use items at Utility Stores Corporation to save people from further troubles.

Saif ur Rahman Khan, acting President ICCI, said that before the implementation of government’s Rs6 billion package of subsidy, the Utility Stores Corporation has reportedly given manifold increase in the prices of many daily use items including ghee, sugar, rice, flour and lentils that would put additional burden on the common man and stressed that government should immediately withdraw hike in daily use items to save people from further troubles.

Saif ur Rahman Khan said that that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation has already increased to 12.7 percent which was a record increase in the last 9 years and in these circumstances, increasing prices at USC items would bring more miseries to general public.

He stressed that government should focus on reducing the cost of doing business besides evolving a comprehensive price control mechanism.

He said that heavy taxation, hike in oil prices and significant increase in electricity and gas tariffs have pushed up the inflation to record level, which should be a cause of concern for the policy makers. He said that inflation was on the rise at a time when the economy was stagnant.

He said that shrinking purchasing power of consumers caused by high inflation was taking a heavy toll on the business activities due to which businesses were suffering losses and unemployment was increasing.

ICCI acting president said that one of the causes of high inflation was high interest rate. He urged that SBP should bring down high interest rate as its tight monetary policy has not been able to control the prices of food items that have witnessed sharp increase.

He said that over 12 percent inflation has become a serious threat to the economy and urged that government should take urgent measures to reduce it.

He further stressed that government should rationalize taxes, decrease key interest rate, reduce exorbitant rates of utilities and POL prices in order to reduce the cost of doing business that would lead to significant decline in inflation and provide great relief to the common man besides giving boost to business and industrial activities.