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April 18, 2021

Small traders reject business curbs in peak season


April 18, 2021

KARACHI: Businessmen on Saturday expressed dismay over Sindh government’s decision to allow limited business timings from Sehri to 6pm and complete closure of businesses on weekend.

“We urge the government to revoke the relevant notification immediately and allow all types of businesses to operate at full capacity throughout Ramazan,” top officials of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), said in a statement.

“Otherwise the people, instead of dying from coronavirus, will fatally succumb to poverty, unemployment, mental stress, hunger or starvation.”

The statement was jointly issued by Zubair Motiwala, Chairman BMG, and Shariq Vohra, President KCCI.

They said the chamber had been urging Sindh government to avoid such unpopular decisions as it was the peak season and if businesses are forced to stay closed for two days a week and observe limited hours on others, they won’t be able to survive.

“We have sent letters to Chief Minister Sindh, Local Government Minister, Chief Secretary, and Commissioner Karachi, and also dropped messages from time to time but haven’t received any response which is a bit disappointing as we were not expecting this from Sindh government, which has always responded to KCCI’s pleas,” said Motiwala.

“Closure of businesses for two consecutive days and allowing them to operate with limited timings during the remaining days would result in bankrupting many businesses, trigger massive unemployment and chaos.”

Chairman BMG stressed the government had to come up with some other feasible solution, which could save everyone from the pandemic and also ensure zero damage to the poor shopkeepers and small traders who could not afford any further shocks.

“In this regard, the business and industrial community is ready to fully comply with all the SOPs but closure will bring much more difficulties and miseries than opening and controlling the pandemic through the implementation of SOPs,” he added.

He said perhaps, it was time the government thought about extending monetary help to citizens especially small shopkeepers who were now in net debt position and even paying shop rents had become difficult for them.

“It is the finding of our research department that many shopkeepers have already gone bankrupt and they are running their businesses in anticipation that this season of Ramazan will pull them out of crises,” he said.

Chairman BMG further stressed the notification must immediately be withdrawn, while the administration should be effectively utilised for strict implementation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

In his statement Vohra also cautioned that shutting down shops for two days and limited business hours would create a chaotic situation as the people would take to streets to protest due to rising unemployment and poverty.

Keeping in view the overall situation and grievances suffered by the business and industrial community, President KCCI hoped that the Sindh government would look into this and take steps to save businesses and the economy from further disaster.