KARACHI: Business and industrial community has expressed concern over long Eid holidays and urged the government to consider reduction in announced holidays.
President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo has expressed his displeasure over yet another set of SOPs and Public Holidays on account of Eid-ul-Fitr announced by NCOC without consulting business, industrial, and trade community of Pakistan.
He demanded that industries and markets should only be closed for 3 days on account of Eid-ul-Fitr otherwise there will be irreversible loss to already struggling businesses and huge shortfall in tax collection will further decelerate the economic activity.
Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo maintained that ports, customs, and required banking services for them should not even be closed for 3 days during Eid-ul-Fitr as exports are as necessary for survival of Pakistan as airports and hospitals. Even a single day closure of ports during Eid will add to existing huge glut and backlog for exporters and cause financial and goodwill loss for not being able to ship the consignments on agreed schedules. He demanded that ports timings should be extended to 05:00pm with immediate effect.
President of Korangi Association of Trade and Industry, Saleem uz-Zaman has expressed grave concern over the long Eid-ul-Fitr holidays and said that the trade activities are already severely hampered due to the challenges being faced by Pakistan in the current situation. Due to the global corona pandemic, all means of benefiting from the export orders received by Pakistan will be wiped out.
He said that eradication of holiday culture in the country was essential for economic development as it was essential to continue working day and night with a continuation of trade and business activities to make Pakistan an Asian Tiger.
He said that while the government institutions themselves feel that the country’s revenue is facing huge deficit due to holidays, the increase in holidays is beyond comprehension.
He said that due to the holy month of Ramazan, lack of time in banks, factories, industries and offices as well as government institutions have severely damaged commercial and business activities even before the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays. Factory and industrial owners are facing difficulties due to unavailability of labour.
Chairman, Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA), Anjum Zafar opposed the announcement of government of 10 days holidays, which would ultimately be a complete closure for leather industry of Pakistan.
Moreover in the wake of persistent impact of COVID-19, which is getting severe in comparison with previous months/year, the finished leather industry has already suffered a lot.
The leather industry being 2nd biggest export oriented industry of the country is striving very hard and trying to arrest the declining trend with vigorous efforts of PTA’s members around the country.
They have finalised their export orders for fetching foreign exchange for the national exchequer which will be delayed in delivery and ultimately daily workers would also be deprived for their daily livelihood during unnecessary long holidays announced by the government.
Another setback has specifically been highlighted by PTA’s chairman that in result of long closure the import clearance at ports of customs at Karachi for the basic raw materials especially under prevailing humid climate would not only be delayed considerably but also to lead to the cause of putrefaction and also heavy demurrage at ports.
The NCOC announced Eid holidays 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 Eid-ul-Fitr for keeping the economy moving, said Ateeq Ur Rehman, economic and financial analyst.
Exports are the major source of revenue and for keeping their financial supply chain in order it needs banking support.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021