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KARACHI: Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) & Former President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) M Zubair Motiwala, while totally rejecting NCOC’s announcement with reference to Eidul Fitr holidays from May 10th-15th, stated that shutting down the country for nine consecutive days was unacceptable as it would create a lot of problems for the economy and the business community, particularly the exporters who will not be able to dispatch their shipments abroad due to complete closure of banks, ports, customs and all other departments during excessive holidays.

Zubair Motiwala said, “As Eidul Fitr is likely to be observed in Pakistan either on 13th or 14th May, the decision to announce holidays from 10th to 15th May is not making any sense hence, it must be reviewed to save the economy and businesses from suffering grave losses due to prolonged inactivity period of nine consecutive days starting from Saturday, May 8th, to Sunday, May 16th.”

He stressed that keeping in view the overall business and economic crises being faced by the country, the government must review this decision and announce Eid holidays from 12th to 15th May 2021 which would certainly give some breathing space to the exporters by enabling them to dispatch shipments on 10th and 11th May, 2021 but shutting down for an excessive period of nine consecutive days would only aggravate hardships for the already perturbed business community. Zubair Motiwala was of the view that the Business & Industrial Community of Karachi has already suffered losses due to limited business hours imposed to contain further spread of Covid-19 pandemic whereas the suspension of banking services and port operations for nine consecutive days would further multiply the losses for trade, industry, businesses and the economy.

Keeping in view the depressed performance of almost all the sectors of the economy particularly the dwindling exports, the government will have to make sure that the wheels of industry keep on spinning without any interruption while the ports along with banks and other necessary departments must also remain completely operational for maximum possible period before the Eid festival. “Can anyone imagine the size of losses suffered by the national exchequer, industries and all other businesses due to excessive holidays and can anyone make a guess what will be happening to the daily wage earners in such circumstances,” Chairman BMG asked. “We cannot afford such prolonged holidays as they result in giving losses of up to billions of rupees to the national exchequer, terribly affect trading activities particularly the exports and deprive the poor daily wage earners from their desperately needed earnings,” he added.

He urged the government to look into this serious issue, rescind the relevant notification and announce revised holidays of Eidul Fitr from 12th to 15th May which would be widely appreciated by the business community of not just Karachi city but also the rest of the country.

Meanwhile Economic & Financial Analyst Ateeq Ur Rehman said that the NCOC, comprehensively announced Eid Holidays “Stay Home Stay Safe” from 8th to 16th May 2021, including Bank and financial institution closure for 9 days is crucial.

By respecting the announcement, it is requested that at-least Banks should be allowed to function before Eidul Fitr for keeping the economy moving.

Exports are the major source of revenue and for keeping its financial supply chain in order it needs banking support. Ateeq said that under the scary situation of Covid-19 where providers of health facilities including NGOs, hospitals, medical institutions need more funding from their donors and well wishers will be the great sufferer for long closure of banks.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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