Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) urged the government for reducing benchmark interest rate, which has been increased to 15pc in order to save the economy from troubles. It said that hike would affect the growth of business activities and cause further slump in the economy. In a press statement issued here on Monday, Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President ICCI said that the benchmark interest rate in Malaysia was 2.25pc, Indonesia 3.5pc, China 3.7pc, Bangladesh 4.75pc and India 4.9pc, but it was 15pc in Pakistan due to which it was not possible for private sector to compete effectively for promoting trade and exports. He said that such hike in policy interest rate would impact growth of industries and the SME sector as these sectors needed cheap loans for growth and expansion. He urged the government to intervene and get the SBP’s decision withdrawn with immediate effect to save the private sector from problems. ICCI President said that the business community was concerned over the increase of interest rate to 15pc at a time when power, gas, petroleum prices have already high. He urged SBP to consult with the stakeholders to save the businesses and economy from the negative impact of a hike in its interest rate. Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh Senior Vice President and Muhammad Faheem Khan Vice President ICCI said that many industries had invested billions of Dollars in importing machinery in the last few years at a low markup rate after obtaining loans from the banks. However, industrialists and exporters would not be able to import machinery and plants at a 15pc policy rate that would lead to a suspension in the industrial activities and thus would be detrimental for the economic future of the country. They also urged the SBP to revise its decision and bring down the benchmark interest rate to single digit level in order to facilitate the growth and expansion of business and industrial activities.