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NTA says Pakistan should bailout small traders

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Islamabad: National Traders Alliance on Monday said government should bailout small traders from economic problems. Leaders should not be only concerned about themselves. Traders would be left with no option but to commit suicides if left on the mercy of banks and police as they are unable to pay interest upto 35 and 45 per cent, said Malik Sohail Hussain, VP, National Traders Alliance and former Sr. VP of ICCI in a meeting held here today.

Banks depriving masses of Rs 100 billion annually
Expansion of banking sector in Pakistan is laudable but it should not be on the cost of depositors. Some banking institutions are involved in some practices that must be stopped. No new licenses should be issued to local or foreign banks as we have enough of spread, He said that controlling banks and other financial institutions is in the larger interest of millions of account holders of the country.

Other business leaders including Chairman Blue Area Traders Association Malik Sagheer Ahmed, Shahid Alam, Syed Amin Pirzada, Ch. Muhammad Naeem and Yusuf Rajput said banks are depriving masses of their due profits of Rs 100 billion per annum since seven years and the trend continues unabated. “This is the reason banks indicated an earning of seven billion in 2000 that jumped to 123.6 billion in 2006 which was 17.65 times higher. The assets of banks swelled by Rs 90 billion in 2007,” said Malik Sagheer adding that the blast continues with no end in sight.

Banks are paying rents 300 to 500 over and above market rates pushing small traders and landlords into differences and litigation. This factor is contributing to price hike. This discourages savings in masses who opt for risky ventures that results in heavy losses, said Malik Sohail Hussain adding that all is happening despite State Bank of Pakistan having full knowledge of the affairs.

Banks are discouraging savings and government has to rely on foreign sources for raising capital. The leaders of traders said that banking spree is a security risk and must be tackled by the regulator. “It amounts to paving the way for slavery of people of Pakistan.”

40 pc interest on credit cards is not acceptable

They said that apart from hidden charges, some banks are charging interest upto 40 percent on credit cards that is not acceptable. Similarly, system repayments have been made tricky to the disadvantage of masses. Some banks would easily extend loans but would trap borrowers in a way that they would have no other option but to handover all their savings to these institutions.

Malik Sohail Hussain said that deductions from customers using ATMs is not just. Banks are not giving profits to the masses as claimed. “Majority of banks have hired marketing staff on basis of commission who would promise anything to make a deal with unsuspecting customers at the loosing end.”

National Traders Alliance has demanded that banks and other financial institutions should be brought in the ambit of anti corruption bodies and the State Bank of Pakistan should also play its due role in the interest of masses. National Traders Alliance demanded of the government to form an economic bailout committee with participation of all stakeholders and MPs to hammer out things. Only bureaucrats and technocrats should not be trusted for the job.

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