Rupee further weakens against dollar, businessmen concerned

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The Pakistani rupee further weakened against the US dollar in the interbank and the open markets on Thursday, raising concern in the business community.

The dollar’s value increased by 56 paisas in the interbank, while its price rose by 25 paisas in the open market.

The dollar was trading at Rs 100.93 in the interbank and at Rs 103 in the open market. Forex dealers said that the dollar’s demand had surged in the expectation that its value might increase.

BUSINESSMEN CONCERNED

Meanwhile, in a meeting held at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) on Thursday, local businessmen expressed concern over the continuing fall in value of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar as this posed a serious threat to the economy.

ICCI President Zafar Bakhtawari, who chaired the meeting, said that the constant downslide of rupee had adversely affected all important sectors of the economy including agriculture, industry, manufacturing, IT and commercial importers.

The average dollar value against the rupee was close to Rs98 in December 2012 in contrast to Rs59.09 in December 2001.It has now touched an all time low of above 100 rupees per dollar. This marks a 65 percent-plus depreciation of the rupee against the dollar.

Bakhtawari said that the constant fall in value of the rupee was multiplying the cost of doing business, especially for those who relied on imported industrial raw materials and machinery. Moreover, this situation was inflating the overall import bill of the country, as Pakistan was importing large quantities of oil among other items to meet its ever-growing needs, he added.

Businessmen said that Pakistan was relatively rich in mineral resources and held strong potential for small businesses to flourish; however, the rupee’s depreciation was stagnating the growth of these sectors and the government needed to give serious thought on harnessing the untapped mineral resources in order to improve exports.

They said that encouraging the local industry for enhancing exports and luring foreign investment through good incentives were some of the effective tools that the government could utilize to curb the downslide of the rupee.