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FPCCI rejects closure of marriage halls, restaurants

Business

November 29, 2020

KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has rejected the decision of the federal government to close down marriage halls and restaurants in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, a statement said on Saturday.

Talking to a delegation of the restaurants and banquet halls association, FPCCI President Mian Anjum Nisar said that marriage halls and restaurants were one of the essential food sectors and their closure would hit the overall economy of the country hard. He appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision not to shut down factories and businesses, despite a spike in coronavirus infections.

The food industry contributes largely to the GDP, and its closure would directly affect dozens of allied industries, including meat, poultry, rice, cooking oil, flour, fruits / vegetables, crockery, clothing, shoes, photography, wedding cards and jewellery, cosmetics, decoration, furniture, lighting, electronics, etc, he added. “The permission of outdoor gathering and wedding ceremonies is not a practicable idea, as it is not possible in winters," he said, and suggested to allow indoor activities in marriage halls and banquets in limited capacity with strict implementation of SOPs.

FPCCI, as an elected body of the trade and industry across Pakistan, also suggested the government to allow smooth running of the restaurants with at least 40 percent capacity, as this industry was affected heavily due to late permission of reopening of restaurants during the first wave of the pandemic. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had introduced a temporary finance scheme for the payment of salaries and wages of workers, but restaurants industry was not accommodated, as the central bank put extra restrictions for them to avail this facility, he said.

Nisar said that like other parts of the world, Pakistan was also hit by the second wave of Covid-19, but the country should not opt for a complete lockdown.

Pakistan should only shut non-essential sectors to save its poor people, as well as economy from severe consequences.