ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI)  suggested increasing import duties on unnecessary imports and impose the 100 percent LC margin on preventable imports to improve the balance of payments situation.

According to details, The Government has already taken some laudable steps to restrict unnecessary imports to rescue the depleting foreign exchange reserves and curtail the widening deficits but more measures to cut imports have become imperative, it said.

Imports must be reduced which jumped to $52 billion during the last fiscal while exports dropped to $21billion which is a huge gap that calls for more measures, said Zubair Tufail, President FPCCI.

He suggested to expand the list of items importable attracting impose 100 percent "Letter of Credit" (LC) margin saying that the list of such items may be finalised with the consultation of FPCCI, he said, adding that this step would compel importers to reduce their imports due to liquidity constraints.

Zubair Tufail said that additional duties may be slapped to discourage imports to narrow the trade gap otherwise country will face serious challenges within few months.  

He said that it is better to take strict measures ourselves instead of waiting for the situation to deteriorate which will leave us with only option to approach international lenders again.