COVID-19: FPCCI president demands Bangladesh like bailout package for trade, industry

Asks for deferment of gas, electricity, other bills

Says 70pc percent wages payment to employees is not an individual’s demand

Jahangir Hayat

LAHORE: The government should introduce Bangladesh like full-fledged bailout package and deferment of gas, electricity and other bills for Pakistani business and industry.
Following the unusual and challenge situation due to COVID-19 lockdown businesses have billions of rupees lost as there is a complete shutdown due to which all the industry and trade activity has come to grinding halt within the period besides there is no income but mark-up like overheads which are piling up in the lockdown period.
The implementation of 70 percent wages for employees is not an individual’s demand but a feedback from the business community around the Country and FPCCI is persuading it.
This was stated by Federation of Chambers and Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Main Anjum Nisar while talking to Daily The Business here the other day.
Although the government has taken a number of strong measures to give relief to the commoners including daily wagers, farmers and labours in the shape of Rs 12000 for families each, till now no visible remedy or relief has been extended to the industry, he told this reporter.
“Despite the fact that industry is non-operative, factories are closed, 11 percent of markup will be charged by the owners even in the current uneven situation. The businessmen are worried about that while the post –COVID-19 situation does also seem grim as the entrepreneurs has to pay markup, electricity bills and wages of the labour and it does not likely that they would be able to continue after the challenging situation like COVID-19.
“What to talk about waivers of gas and electricity bills the government is not ready to allow the deferments of utility bills right now due to which situation has aggravated. We have never seen such the difficult times in our lives,” he stated.
Referring the global economy and ways forwards of the governments around the world, he said that the global GDP which is standing at $93trillion is forecasted be reduced by 1/3 in the result of pandemic and the year 2020 will be a tough one.
“In order to face the pre and post COVID situation governments around the world are announcing mega trade and industry bailout packages as against our government. The governments are announcing these packages to the trade and industry for enabling the stakeholders to face post-COVID scenario in better ways but in our case there is nothing worth mentioning. Perhaps the government has no sufficient resources,” he explained, adding that if the government does pass on any relief to the industry things will be arduous ahead.
Talking about the relief extended by the government to the trade and industry, Nisar highlighted that due to the concentrated efforts of FPCCI the government has deferred electricity bills for 15 days while the demurrage and detention charges have been waived of for the 15 days.
Answering to a question about importers complaints against terminal operators, Nisar said that this is a fact that private terminal operators are defying the government’s orders but the government owned operators are obeying the directions in letter and spirit.
“We have demanded of the waivers of the demurrages and detentions charges and not asking for their charges of terminals and they must have to give up with their stances amid the calamity through which whole the world is passing. This is not the right time to think of profit only but to face the calamity collectively with mutual corporation,” he stated, adding that most private terminals have also started implementing and the Gwadar Port management is even ready not to charge the actual charges of their terminals.
Answering another question about the State Bank of Pakistan offer of loans to the traders and industrialists on 4 to 5 percent interest to pay salaries to their employees, Nisar said Bangladesh has announced a full-fledged bailout package for trade and Industry enabling the businessmen to cope with the situation. In our case the government has adopted partial wages portion excluding the remedial part of that bailout package offered by the Bangladesh government.
On the contrary, he said the Bangladesh government offered loans to the business owners on 2 percent markup and of which one half will be sustained by the government, ” Nisar urged the government to announced a comprehensive bailout package for trade and Industry enabling them to be able to continue after the COVID-19 crisis ends.
Answering to the final question about his demand of paying 70 percent of salaries to the employees who have unable to attend factories and office due to COVID-19 lockdown, he clarified that that was why we demanded the government to implement Bangladesh bailout package completely instead of partially.
“The 70 percent of the salaries payment to the employees is not an individual’s demand but a feedback from the business community around the Country. Pre-COVID-19 condition of the businesses was also not so good. We were to pay 13 percent as markup almost the highest in the world, gas and electricity billing was also exorbitant and in such condition 70 percent of the salary payment is not bad a idea as employees overheads including transportation charges would also not be the liabilities for them” he explained, concluding that the government should introduce Bangladesh like full-fledged bailout package and deferment of gas, electricity and other bills for Pakistani business and industry to vie with the post-coronavirus situation.

Bangladesh bailout packageCoronavirusCOVID-19demandsfor tradeFPCCIIndustryMian Anjum NisarPresident
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