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KARACHI: Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has said that the federal and provincial governments must act fast in the aftermath of floods to protect the continuity of businesses, employment generation and revenue collection to protect the economy and the people from the irreversible damages.

He maintained that initial estimates suggest that at least Rs2,000 billion or $9–10 billion are required within a short span of next 10 months, i.e. the remainder of the current fiscal year 2022–23 to normalize the lives of the people affected by the floods for rebuilding the infrastructure, reconstructing the damaged homes, protecting SMEs and keeping the economic & commercial activities afloat.

FPCCI Chief has also appealed to international community, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), friendly countries and top 20 economies of the world to come forward and pool the financial, technical and human resources to help rebuild one-third of Pakistan severely affected by the floods.

He explained that the country’s population of 220 million contributes less than 1 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions; but, they have suffered the most in the world by the calamitous effects of the global warming.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh highlighted the fact that at least 8.33 percent less domestically produced edible crops will be available this year; and, this will substantially aggravate the already existing food shortages in the country. This, in turn, will put further strain on the Foreign Exchange Reserves (FER) of the country as there will be no option left other than to plug the deficit in food supplies from imports.

President FPCCI has proposed a five-point agenda to protect the economy from further damage: (i) the government should negotiate the restructuring of external debts with IMF, World Bank, ADB, IDB and friendly countries to create fiscal space for flood relief and rebuilding activities (ii) detailed damage assessment should start immediately at every district, tehsil and village level; and, multilateral and bilateral donor conferences should held and findings should be professionally and transparently presented to generate substantial donations from international community (iii) electricity bills of the businesses affected by floods should be waived for 3 months to enable them to continue their operations and keep generating employment opportunities (iv) natural rainwater passages and canals should be restored to their natural shapes before the monsoon season of the next year (v) a comprehensive plan to rehabilitate Internally Displaced People (IDPs) should be put in place with a deadline of 6 months along with the regular provision of food and medical facilities throughout the interim period.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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