The industry is struggling to survive during locking coronavirus in Pakistan
KARACHI: For local businesses in Pakistan, loss of exports is no longer a major concern because the country is struggling to contain the corona virus epidemic.
The industry sector says it is currently struggling to survive amid the lockdown, with more and more industrialists, already burdened with various taxes, higher interest rates and utility costs, expressing their inability to pay workers next month.
For industrialists, ongoing lockouts have caused erosion of income and additional costs for doing business, because they have to pay salaries and arrange rations for unemployed workers and recipients of daily wages.
According to Chairman of the Textile Association Council Zubair Motiwalla, business people face a severe liquidity crisis due to industry closure.
“The government must share 50% of our employees’ salaries from the Workers Welfare Fund (WWF). “The money in these funds, amounting to billions of rupees, is our money and must be used during this crisis,” he said.
President of the SITE Industry Association Suleman Chawla also called for the use of EOBI and WWF funds for industrial workers to protect them from starvation.
“The industrial unit contributed billions of rupees because of the EOBI and the Workers’ Welfare Fund, which are not used in banks. This is the time to utilize this fund and compensate workers, “Chawla said.
According to Agha Shahab, President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the agency received several requests from various sectors and industrialists who found the situation “very difficult”.
Industrialists say that the lockdown threatens their survival because of slow production and the additional costs of paying wages to unproductive labor.
The business community also believes that most aid measures and initiatives taken by provincial and federal governments so far will not produce the desired results because they do not cover all industries and businesses.
This is why the business community urges the government to look at the possibility of a proposed 50% reduction in all three-month tax rates, interest rates, utility fees and oil prices.
President of the Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) Zulfiqar Thaver said the SME sector was the most severely affected by locking up and urged the government to reschedule the sector’s debt.
Thaver also criticized the government’s decision to close the bakery and urged the authorities to reconsider this decision.
Pakistan’s economy is projected to face losses of up to 4.64% of gross domestic product (GDP) due to disruptions in trade, both imports and exports, after the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Ministry of Planning has assessed a loss of Rs 1.2 trillion in a limited locking scenario, Rs 1.96 trillion at a moderate level and Rs 2.5 trillion in terms of complete restrictions on movement, which symbolizes situations such as curfews.