SMEs, markets want relaxation in lockdown for economic activities continuation
ISLAMABAD: The Friends of Economic & Business Reforms (FEBR) has appealed the government to announce some relaxation for the markets and other businesses from the lockdown with strict preventive measures in line with the exception given to some industrial sectors amidst coronavirus pandemic.
FEBR President Kashif Anwar proposed that the local markets and Small & Medium Industries can be allowed to open for a specific time under strict SOPs so that money could continue to circulate in the economy and millions of workers could retain their jobs, instead of depending on the government, says a press release.
In separate letters, written to Federal Industries & Production Minister Hammad Azhar and Punjab Industries & Commerce Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal, he requested the government to allow them to open markets, assuring that they would take all preventive measures, as COVID-19 crisis has caused severe economic destruction. Small-scale businesses and markets are going through a financial crunch and do not even have money to pay their employees, he added.
“This is the time that we all have to work on individual basis and fulfill our responsibilities for a collective struggle for the betterment of our people, saving them not only from the pandemic effects of COVID-19 but also from financial, psychological and social threats, which have not yet matured.”
Kashif Anwar, in the letter, proposed that in order to reduce the traffic of customers in the wholesale markets, shopkeepers should be asked to book orders of their products online, establishing a culture of online or virtual trade. It will also be beneficial for the State in terms of revenue generation and documentation, he added. He asked the government to defer the payment of utility bills for the month of March, April and May 2020. Moreover, the workers whose contribution is paid under the head of Social Security, EOBI or Education Cess their monthly wages for these three months should be paid by the government and transferred to their respective bank accounts to ensure transparency. He added that school fees of the children of registered employees not be charged by the schools and paid by the government directly to schools.
He demanded that 50% discount may be given on all other children school fee which are not registered with any of the department. - APP