Traders lambast 10-day suspension of businesses

Say closure of factories, businesses will have serious economic and social consequences

Our Correspondent May 02, 2021
Traders and shopkeepers hold a protest demonstration on Murree Road against the publication of blasphemous cartoon in France. PHOTO: APP


Traders and industrialists have voiced criticism against long Eid Holidays and directives for a lockdown during this period citing that closure of factories and businesses will have serious economic and social consequences.

The Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (PPMA) has rejected six days holiday for Eidul Fitr announced by the government.

In a statement on Saturday, Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) former chairman Dr Kaiser Waheed stressed that the pharmaceutical industry should not be subjected to prolonged closure during Eid.

He was of the view that prolonged closure of drug manufacturing units could trigger a crisis of medicines in the country as it battles the third wave of Covid-19.

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Patron in Chief Gohar Ejaz said that suspension of business from May 8 to May 17, 2021 will bring the whole country to a standstill.

“Shutting down economic activity for 10 consecutive days is unacceptable as it would create immense hurdles for the economy and industries,” he said. “Exporters in particular will not be able to dispatch their shipments on time due to closure of banks, ports, customs and all other departments during the long holidays.”

On the other hand, Businessmen Panel Chairman Mian Anjum Nisar ordered traders to strictly implement the standard operating procedures at their workplaces to curb the spread of the deadly virus and avert halt of the industrial base.

He also said that due to the previous lockdowns, Pakistan’s economy suffered losses worth billions of dollars while a lot of people were rendered jobs.

“Local economy suffered negative growth during fiscal year 2019-20 for the first time in history due to Covid-19,” he said. “The best way to save the economy and businesses from more losses is to follow the standard operating procedures.”

Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) President Ismail Suttar said that businesses are already operating for limited hours as per government’s orders for Ramazan and firms are facing hurdles in timely completion of orders and management of supply chains.

Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) former president Zubair Motiwala termed suspension of business activities for 10 days unacceptable as it would create a lot of problems for the economy and the business community.

He called for review of the decision to save the economy and businesses from suffering mammoth losses.

“Keeping in view the depressed performance of almost all the sectors of the economy, particularly the dwindling exports, the government has to make sure that the wheels of industry keep spinning without any interruption,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2021.

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