LAHORE: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association and the Pakistan Ready Made Garments Manufacture and Exporters Association on Wednesday appealed to the prime minister, advisor to prime minister on finance and advisor to prime minister on commerce, industry and textile to fix the interest rate at 5 percent for the industry, especially when it is facing problems due to deferment or cancellation of shipments to Europe and the USA on account of closure of international borders due to coronavirus.

Earlier, the State Bank of Pakistan on Tuesday cut its benchmark interest rate for the second time in a week, lowering it by 150 basis points to 11 percent.

While talking to Business Recorder, Patron-in-Chief APTMA Gohar Ejaz said: “The government’s response is very positive. Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Industry and Textile Razak Dawood is representing the case of industry in a very effective manner”. He also said that the government should bring down the interest rate to 5 percent.

Similarly, Chief Coordinator PRGMEA Ijaz Khokhar said the government should lock down the interest rate at 5 percent for industry, especially for the small and medium enterprises for at least one year. He also said that the SME is the sector which is mostly affected by the coronavirus. He said most export orders given to small and medium enterprises were either halted or cancelled so the government should announce relief package for this industry as thousands of people were directly or indirectly associated with this sector.

Ijaz Khokar also appealed to Razak Dawood that he should talk to Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah regarding permission for entry of export goods of millions of dollars dispatched from Sialkot to Karachi. The cargo was stuck on the border of Sindh as the Sindh government was not allowing the cargo to enter its province.

In the same way, shipments of worth millions of dollars were ready for dispatching and were laying in factories of Sialkot waiting for government’s policy regarding movement of export goods.

Khokar said that despite clear instructions from Razak Dawood conveyed through tweets, the district administrations of both the provinces say that they have not received any written orders in this direction.

Earlier, Dawood tweted: “Further to my tweet last night, Chief Secretary @ GoPunjabPK has given powers to the Divisional Commissioners (DC). Exporters please contact your respective DC.”

In another tweet, Dawood said, “Further to my discussions with Sindh CM @MuradAliShahPPP last night, I see a notification by @SindhGovt, that a committee has been formed to resolve exporters issues.

All exporters should contact this committee.”