KARACHI: Industrialists have urged the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for further cut in key policy rate to address the economic slowdown.

Former president of Federation Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Zubair Tufail on Friday appreciated the SBP’s measures taken in the recent crisis for support of industry and exports and said although, the SBP monetary policy committee has reduced the policy rate by some 4.25 percent to 9 percent during the last one month to support the economy, however, it seems that Covid-19 impact on the domestic industry is more than expectations and in this situation, there is need of some more cut in the key policy rate to facilitate the domestic industry, which is under sever crisis and need more financial relief, he added.

He said with recent reduction in the petroleum prices, inflation is expected to further reduce in coming months; therefore, there is space of another cut of 2 to 3 percent in the interest rate. “In order to address the economic slowdown, the interest rate should be fixed at least at 6 percent”, Tufail demanded.

He said as the inflation outlook is positive with support lower oil prices in domestic and international front, the monetary policy committee of SBP should review the policy rate and take a decision in larger interest of economy.

Tufail said that SBP is very vigilant in recent crisis of Covid-19 and taking very timely steps to manage this crisis, however, recent stimulus measures will not be sufficient and there is need of further steps to fight against Covid-19.

He said currently, economic and industrial activities have been come to stand still due to lockdown and the industry is looking toward the federal government and State Bank for further relief to overcome this crisis.

FPCCI former president appreciated SBP’s principal amount deferment scheme and said this scheme will only provide temporary financial relief as borrowers are still required to service the interest on advances.

Tufail also appreciated government’s announcement of cut in the petroleum prices and said recent reduction in oil prices will help to reduce the industrial cost of production.

The reduction in fuel prices will be benefited for general public as presently masses are facing hardships and loss of income amid lockdown followed by Covid-19.