PESHAWAR, April 09-The business community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has urged upon both federal and provincial governments to convene a consultative meeting of all stakeholders to prepare a comprehensive strategy for ending lockdown announced in the country to prevent the outbreak of Corona virus and offered full cooperation to governments in that regard.
The demand was made during a press conference addressed by the leaders of the business including former president, Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Haji Ghulam Ali, Coordinator FPCCI for KP, Sartaj Ahmad Khan, Senior Vice President (SVP), Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Shahid Hussain, President, Mardan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Zahir Shah and former vice president, FPCCI, Mohammad Adnan Jalil.
During the press conference, the Coordinator FPCCI, Sartaj Ahmad Khan readout the charter of demands of the business community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and said that the ongoing lockdown has inflicted a loss of Rs.1trillion on the traders and industrialists and demanded the announcement of a relief package to compensate business community of the province.
He said that although they are welcoming the relief package announced by the federal government, but its benefits have not reached to the province so far. He called for the waiving of the mark-up of the loans and announcement of grants for both small and large industrial units for settlement of their utility bills.
Sartaj Ahmad Khan said that an amount of Rs.3 billion is pending with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in head of refund since last ten years and demanded of the implementation of the directives of the Prime Minister Imran Khan in this regard in letter and spirit.
He said that as industrial units are closed and entire supply chain is blocked that had eventually led to an immediate burden in shape of fixed operational costs. He said that even during the lockdown industrial units had to pay off millions of rupees for the unavoidable operational expenses.
The lockdown, he said will also affect the economic activities in the coming few months as well until situation normalize completely. He said that in order to save the KP industrial sector from verge of closure, all utilities payment i.e. electricity and gas for the period from March 01, 2020 to June 30, 2020 should be deferred and should be collected in the period of six months without any surcharge.
The business community has also demanded complete waiver of the demurrage charges on containers struck at Karachi port due to lockdown and ban on transport due to the Corona virus pandemic and abolition of KP Infrastructure cess till closure industry as well as waive off of all provincial taxes on commercial sector.
He also called for cut in the discount rate to bring it down to single digit that will not only promote competitiveness, rater will also boost business activities once we get control over COVID-19.
? ? ? ? ? The FPCCI Coordinator also called for launching an interest free loan for operation of businesses for a period of one year and maximum relief in the monthly fees of the private schools and establishment of federal and provincial level control rooms comprising of all stakeholders to listen the issues of the local community and take steps for redressal .. CN report, published as received, 10 Apr 2020