Nisar: COVID-19 severely affected economy, business

KARACHI (INP): President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Mian Anjum Nisar has said that coronavirus (COVID-19) has severely affected the economy, businesses, industries and small traders.

He was speaking in the seminar on post lockdown scenario of COVID-19 and effects of coronavirus pandemic on Pakistan’s economy via video link on zoom held at Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Head Office Karachi on Friday.

The seminar was attended by Agha Fakhar Hussain, Additional Secretary – Industry and Commerce, Government of Sindh, Sheikh Sultan Rehman, VP FPCCI, prominent businessmen and representatives of SBP, Principal and Dean of Dow University of Health Sciences, TDAP, PHMA and other associations. Haji Ghulam Ali former President FPCCI, Mr. Qaiser Sheikh, VP FPCCI, Muhammad Ali Mian and Nasir Hayat Magoon also attended the seminar.

Mian Anjum Nisar expressed his serious concerns over the consequences of COVID-19 on Pakistan’s economy. He said that Pakistan has been one of the countries worst affected by COVID-19, with the economic disruption caused by the pandemic exacerbating an already existing crisis.

He said that the coronavirus pandemic has become dreadful contagion across the globe and we have been passing through the second wave of coronavirus (COVID-19) has severely affected the economy, businesses, industries and small traders.

The lockdown measure sparked a wave of unemployment and created socio-economic challenges, and economic pandemonium in the country and many people lost their jobs as many companies/factories shut their production in the country owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

The President FPCCI appreciated the refinance scheme by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for businesses to support the employment of workers in the face of economic challenges posed by the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We have provided the salaries to all FPCCI employees during the given situation of coronavirus pandemic even liabilities and financial burden is increasing, he added.

He also emphasized that it is clear that COVID-19 proved as catastrophic for Pakistan’s already ailing economy and the country’s economic performance is at standstill due to the pandemic because the worst-case scenario is “high impact,” and entails a 0–1.5 per cent GDP growth While Formal sector workers are also at risk. It is estimated that the poverty rate will increase from around 23.4 per cent to nearly 59. Despite the prevailing situation of COVID-19, locust swarms have also harmed the agriculture sector of the country, he added.

Addressing the seminar, VP FPCCI Sheikh Sultan Rehman showed his deepest concerns regarding COVID-19. He said that it has proved as a catastrophic and deadly disease and engendered Lives and livelihoods in jeopardy in the country and across the world. He lauded the relief and exemption provided by the government for facilitating the businesses in Pakistan especially to the construction industry and others.

He further said that coronavirus cases are increasing because people are not following the standard operational procedures (SOPs). In this regard, the government has to manage the situation efficiently and competently by implementing new economic priorities, relief on income tax to companies producing products related to life necessities, and health protection and to announce some back support for exporters. Along with all this, it is a major responsibility of citizens to self-quarantine and provides the government with a free hand to gear up some economic activities in a proper manner under the war of COVID-19.

Agha Fakhar Hussain – Additional Secretary, Sindh Government stated that it has been noticed that people and traders are not following the standard operational procedures (SOPs) in their business premises.

He further said that the business community should create awareness and assure implementation of SOPs at District level through economic zones in order to control the spread of COVID-19. Sindh government is ready to facilitate the business community at every stage but it is the responsibility of all to follow the SOPs so that we may be able to cope with this difficult situation of the pandemic, he added.

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