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LAHORE: The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Association Front (PIAF) has rejected the option of imposing another lockdown in the country, saying the country could not afford to go back to lockdown and also urged the trade and industry to follow the government’s SOPs for curbing the spread of deadly coronavirus.

PIAF Vice Chairman Javed Siddiqi, in a statement, asked the government to avoid issuing threatening statements of re-imposing lockdown, as it would create panic further among the business community as well as the general public. He observed that Covid-19 cases’ fatality rate in Pakistan was very low for which the government was appreciated for taking the immediate measure to control the outbreak in the country. “At the same time, instead of creating an environment of fear and stress, we must recognize the symptoms and exercise as many precautions as possible,” he suggested.

Javed Iqbal Siddiqi said the Eid was an important event for the business community when business liabilities were paid off along with benefits to hundreds of thousands of people attached to different operations of the economic activities; hence, all economic areas should be functioning smoothly during these days.

PIAF vice chairman Javed Siddiqi said that previous lockdowns had created havoc in the whole world as the nations which were giving loans had themselves come under debts. “We were already facing financial crunch due to huge burden of debts. So, lockdown is not a good option,” he added.

Javed Siddiqi observed that the government would have to make visible reduction in taxes to help revive the businesses, which were near to bankruptcies owing to previous slowdowns amidst coronavirus.

According to data, Pakistan’s foreign direct investment dropped by more than 33 percent in 10 months of the current fiscal year.

He said that like the domestic industry Covid-19 crisis had also forced the global investors to put their new investment plans on hold, while no visible improvement in employment was seen in the country. The small and medium industries (SMEs), the main providers of jobs, are still struggling because of lack of funds and demand.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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