LAHORE: Pointing out that while Punjab has allowed several industrial sectors to resume operations, Sindh lags behind in easing the restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic, business and industry leaders have stressed the need for all provinces to adopt a uniform lockdown policy with equal business opportunities for their citizens.
Punjab has allowed inter-city public transport, big shopping malls and power looms to start operations across the province from Monday.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh stressed that the federal government has handled the coronavirus pandemic situation very wisely to rein in the spread of the highly contagious disease.
“During the past month and a half, the country has already lost $6-7 billion worth of international trade. Now, we are hearing that around 50,000 expatriates are returning home after losing their jobs in different countries.
Punjab government has decided to open different trade and industry sectors in a phased manner. Following a cabinet meeting on coronavirus and meetings with different stakeholders, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar announced that the government has decided to ease restrictions while keeping into consideration the difficulties of low-income strata of the society.
In view of the prevailing situation, business leaders have demanded that all provincial governments should review their lockdown strategies. warning that otherwise it would be very difficult to pull the country from the economic crisis.
Meanwhile, Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) and former president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Siraj Kassam Teli urged the Sindh government to completely do away with the ongoing lockdown at least during the last week of Ramazan. “We cannot afford to keep the businesses closed forever so the government and the business community will have to jointly devise ways and means of how to safely get back to routine life in the presence of the virus,” he said in a statement.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2020.