Stakeholders in the printing industry and paper importers have denounced the inflated dollar rate as they face a severe trade crisis due to a massive rise in paper prices.
Former vice-president of the Paper Merchants Association of Pakistan, Abid Nisar, said the value of the dollar had risen to an alarming level and the crisis had intensified due to profits from local paper mills.
Prices for books and copies have skyrocketed due to soaring paper prices. As a result, “a majority of students will be deprived of textbooks and copies at the advent of the new academic year and the dream of educating the nation will not be realized,” Nisar remarked.
He called on the government to provide subsidies to the paper and printing industry to save it from further loss and destruction.
Nisar pointed out that textbooks and copies had become so expensive that they were beyond the reach of the common man.
“The government should think about it and subsidize the paper and printing industry so that students can get textbooks and copies at reasonable prices,” he said.
Furthermore, the cost of doing business is already on the rise due to high electricity tariffs, the continuous increase in the exchange rate and now political instability, which is also causing difficulties for the business community.
He alerted the government to declining exports and regretted that mainstream politicians don’t care much about the country’s economy.
“Karachi is the economic center of Pakistan, the center of commercial and industrial activities, but unfortunately the city has been neglected.
The packages for Karachi were mere announcements as the funds were not released, Nisar regretted and urged the government to take serious action to prevent trade and industry from being destroyed so that the economy can emerge from the crisis.
The President of the Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (Unisame), Zulfikar Thaver, pointed out that now transactions and businesses are computerized/digitalized and that the business community, even small and medium enterprises (SMEs), avoid to use paper and printing.
He held the packaging and printing industry responsible for sluggish exports for failing to produce attractive packaging and urged the government to reduce import duties on packaging materials.
“Goods from all over the world are gaining space in the global market due to attractive packaging and printing, but we are lagging behind,” he said.
However, “once the exchange rate stabilizes, we will raise our voices in favor. We invite big investors to create import substitution industries,” he said and called on the government to come up with an industrial policy for the paper and printing industry, as well as chemicals. and oil tankers.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6e2022.
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