LAHORE: As Pakistan Super League (PSL) is about to begin in major cities of the country, the business community is getting increasingly worried over the closure of businesses in the days to come.
The business community of Lahore, primarily of Gulberg town, a financial hub of the city, has requested the authorities concerned to relax their security plans and allow business in the vicinity of Gaddafi Stadium to remain open in a bid to help it flourish.
At a press briefing held at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Tuesday, businessmen pointed out that they expected a rise in sales during such festivities.
“We have estimated that the closure of markets around Gaddafi Stadium will dent trade activities to the tune of Rs21 billion each day,” they said. “However, if business activities continue during these days, we expect revenues to soar to Rs40 billion.”
Stating the reason, they said people across Punjab loved to watch matches live and hence they would visit Lahore and spend money on shopping as well.
“This is a normal phenomenon which we have observed in previous years as well,” they said.
“Closure of major markets of Lahore due to cricket matches will inflict a huge economic blow to the businessmen, therefore, the government should devise a plan to avoid trade and economic losses.”
They held the view that the revival of international cricket in Pakistan was a healthy sign, which would promote soft image of the country in the international arena.
However, they argued that trade and economic activities were equally important and the government should devise a strategy in consultation with the stakeholders so that sports events could be held without affecting the business activities.
They recalled that in the recent past, whenever cricket matches were played at the Gaddafi Stadium, Liberty and other markets and restaurants adjacent to it were ordered to be closed, which caused massive losses not only to the traders but also to the daily wagers.
“A few matches of PSL are scheduled to be held at the Gaddafi Stadium. If markets remain closed, the consequences will be bad,” they said while expressing concern. “The business community and those earning daily wages will face mammoth losses.”
They added that the business community was ready to cooperate with the government to ensure all necessary security measures were taken during these matches. However, they criticised the closure of markets adjacent to the Gaddafi Stadium.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2020.
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