PESHAWAR (Khyber Mail): Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, the leader of the Businessman Forum (BF) and former Senator, has criticized the decision to maintain the policy rate at 22 percent. He argues that this rate is not only unfair but also harmful to business, industrial, and economic growth. Bilour is advocating for a reduction in the policy rate to 12 percent.

In a statement released on Saturday, Bilour, a prominent businessman, reminded the public that the previous PML-N government had managed to reduce the interest rate to a single digit. He questioned how the business community is expected to secure loans from commercial banks at such high interest rates.

Bilour pointed out the difficulties faced by the business community in repaying loans with an interest rate of 25 percent. He stated that the current economic conditions are already challenging for businessmen, and obtaining loans from commercial banks at a markup of 25 percent is not just difficult, but virtually impossible.

The BF leader also highlighted that the government is borrowing from commercial banks through T-bills. He suggested that if the central government instructs the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to lower the interest rate to 12 percent from the current 22 percent, it would boost business, trade, and industrialization, thereby stabilizing the national economy.

Bilour maintained that a significant reduction in the interest rate would result in lower prices, providing relief to the poorer segments of society. While acknowledging that the SBP is an independent institution, he insisted that the government must intervene to address the issue of maintaining the policy rate at its current high level.

He argued that autonomy does not imply the freedom to do as one pleases without considering the consequences. The BF leader urged both the government and the State Bank of Pakistan to reduce the current policy rate from 22 to 12 percent.

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