close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
April 10, 2020

Business community seeks strategy to end lockdown

Peshawar

April 10, 2020

PESHAWAR: The business community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has asked both the federal and provincial governments to convene a consultative meeting of all stakeholders to prepare a comprehensive strategy for ending the lockdown that was enforced in the country in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.

The demand was made during a press conference addressed by the leaders of the business including former president Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Haji Ghulam Ali, coordinator FPCCI for KP Sartaj Ahmad Khan, Senior Vice President Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) ShahidHussain, President Mardan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Zahir Shah and former vice president FPCCI Mohammad Adnan Jalil. In their speeches, the business community leaders enumerated the problems of traders and public and vowed to follow the precautionary measures for preventing the spread of coronavirus. However, they said the authorities should work out a permanent solution to the problem as the small traders cannot afford the prolonged lockdown any further.

Sartaj Ahmad Khan read out the charter of demands of the business community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, claiming the ongoing lockdown has caused a loss of Rs1 trillion for the traders and industrialists. He demanded a relief package by the government to compensate business community.

Other representatives said that although they were welcoming the relief package announced by the federal government, its benefits have not reached the province so far. They called for waiving of the mark-up of the loans and grants for both small and large industrial units for settlement of their utility bills. Senator Haji Ghulam Ali said that Rs.3 billion is pending with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in head of refund for the last 10 years. He demanded the implementation of the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan in this regard in letter and spirit. “As industrial units are closed and entire supply chain is blocked, it had eventually caused an immediate burden in the shape of fixed operational costs. Even during the lockdown, industrial units had to pay millions of rupees for the unavoidable operational expenses,” he argued.

The lockdown, Senator Ghulam Ali said, will also affect the economic activities in the coming few months until situation normalizes completely. He said that in order to save the KP industrial sector from closure, all utilities payment such as electricity and gas bills from March 1 to June 30, 2020 should be deferred and collected later in six months without any surcharge. He also demanded complete waiver of the demurrage charges on containers struck at Karachi port due to the lockdown and ban on transport. He demanded abolition of KP Infrastructural cess till closure of the industry as well as waiver of all provincial taxes on commercial sector. He called for cut in the discount rate to bring it down to single digit that will not only promote competitiveness, but also boost business activities once the Covid-19 crisis is over. ShahidHussain and Zahir Shah called for launching an interest-free loan for operation of businesses for a period of one year and maximum relief in the monthly fee of the private schools.

They proposed setting up federal and provincial control rooms for all stakeholders so that the issues of the local community are heard and resolved.