The business & industry community in Karachi, which was largely pessimistic about business and economic conditions in 2020 before the Coronavirus broke out, worried that the economy would be hit at the hands of the Covid-19 Pandemic, so they expected the situation. getting worse from bad to worse.
According to the Karachi Business Sentiment Survey conducted by the Karachi Chamber of Research & Development Department which gathered responses from the Karachi business & industry community between 1 January 2020 and 15 March 2020, “The business and industrial community in Karachi has painted an eye-opening picture of the pace of business activity in the year 2019 and has signaled low expectations for 2020. “
This initiative was launched under the direction of the Chairman of the Entrepreneurs Group (BMG) & Former KCCI President Siraj Kassam Teli and BMG Secretary General AQ Khalil, besides being supported and facilitated by KCCI President Agha Shahab Khan, KCCI Senior Vice President Arshad Islam and KCCI Vice-President Shahid Ismail. However, it is explicitly stated that the survey report has been compiled solely based on the aggregate input received from business and industry participants who participated in the survey and their opinions may differ from the KCCI perspective.
The bilingual questionnaire was filled by a total of 1,103 manufacturers, service providers and unique traders representing more than 34 sectors including cars, textiles and real estate based on different scale of establishment from small traders to large multinational organizations.
The report, which also features sections in Urdu, revealed that with the exception of a number of institutions, most businesses based in Karachi experienced at least some degree of friction in the pace of business activity in 2019, regardless of the sector in which they belonged.
The report states that only a few companies employ additional workers in 2019 while the remainder cannot provide additional employment opportunities or have to lay off employees. In fact, 50 percent of companies claim to have reduced the number of employees by 2019 while as a consequence of outbreaks and disasters caused by the coronavirus pandemic, sharp unemployment growth is being anticipated.
After analyzing a number of factors, the report concludes that Rupee depreciation, an unprecedented increase in utility costs, and Pakistan’s long and complex taxation system are the biggest challenges for business. In addition, high import duties, rising utility costs, rising fuel costs, inflation, high interest rates, smuggling and weak Karachi infrastructure also adversely affect daily business operations in Karachi. Furthermore, the report found that the CNBR FBR conditions were considered as roadblocks for business operations and that these conditions must be deferred.
However, popularly debated topics such as FATF and anti-encroachment efforts do not always affect most businesses while CPEC has failed to generate enthusiasm among Karachi-based businesses because most believe they have not experienced the positive effects of multi-dollar -billion. project.
Using the feedback section of this report, businesses voice their opinions on a variety of topics ranging from general complaints to policy suggestions and issues specific to some businesses. The report delivered comments related to the CNBR FBR conditions, tax returns, calls for a fair and unified tax system, poor infrastructure planning and maintenance, gave incentives to local manufacturers and more. The report stated that the Karachi community had asked the government to refrain from sudden policy changes, engage in deliberations with policy stakeholders and consider preparing a one-window solution for entrepreneurs.
The survey report states that the Karachi Business Sentiment Survey proved to be a useful tool and KCCI will continue the survey series to improve the Karachi business and industrial community.
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