RAWALPINDI   -   The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) has shown grave concerns on rising inflation and high fiscal deficit and asked the Finance Ministry to address the given challenges at earliest.

Malik Shahid Saleem, President RCCI, in a statement on Tuesday said that the ministry should play a proactive role and suggested to take swift measures while choosing an agile framework on growth model, resource mobilisation, increasing saving rates, trigger investments for creating jobs and reducing poverty.

To make a significant impact on the current account deficit, government needs to ensure an investment-friendly environment that attracts more foreign direct investment (FDI), RCCI President said.

He informed that according to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report, Pakistan ranks 136th out of 190 economies. To improve this ranking and draw more investment, Pakistan should ease customs laws and regulations, improve the security of the country, and rebrand and boost its international image.

RCCI President said that constantly rising inflation poses a serious threat to the economy as the consumer prices influenced by faster rupee depreciation and rise in energy prices have increased to their highest level in five years.

The rate of inflation in Pakistan has been rising steadily over the last one year. It stood at 3.2 percent in March 2018. A year later it has, more or less, trebled to 9.4 percent which is the highest rate of inflation in the last seven years, he added.

Malik Shahid Saleem demanded urgent measures in upcoming budget to address inflation and fiscal deficit. He expressed hope that the government will lower sales tax rates, cut in regulatory duty and slash in custom duty to boost SMEs in the country.