By Asad Cheema
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has urged that the business community should ensure strict implementation of SOPs in markets and commercial areas in order to curb the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. He said that the third wave of coronavirus has spread to a dangerous level and this situation demanded that business community should play a role for strict compliance of SOPs in business areas in order to control its further outbreak.
Speaking during an online meeting with President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan on Wednesday, he said that reduction in coronavirus cases would also help the government to consider easing restrictions on businesses.
Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan apprised the federal minister of the consequences of reduced business hours and requested him to consider extending them during Ramadan. He also called upon the business community and the general public to strictly follow the Covid-19 SOPs in order to avert any lockdown that would cause great losses to the business activities, render thousands of daily wagers and workers jobless, make people lives more miserable, give further rise inflation besides badly impacting the economy. He said that the only way to curb the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic was to follow the SOPs as there was no other better solution to cope with this deadly virus.
Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said that due to the previous lockdowns, our economy was reported to have suffered a loss of approximately Rs.2.5 trillion while around 3 million workers lost their jobs due to which thousands of families had to suffer great difficulties. He further said due to Covid-19, Pakistan’s economy went into the negative growth for the first time last year since 1968 due to Covid-19 and the best way to save the economy and businesses from further loss was to adopt SOPs in our daily life.
The ICCI President said that those countries that imposed lockdowns to control the coronavirus, provided ample relief to their businesses and the general public. However, it was not possible for a country like Pakistan to go for lockdown without putting its businesses and the people in great trouble. Therefore, he emphasized that we as a nation should learn some lessons from the previous lockdowns and ensure the complete implementation of SOPs so that we could control the spread of coronavirus, keep our businesses open, save workers from unemployment and curb inflation from further rising. Sardar Yasir Ilyas requested all trade bodies and market associations of Islamabad, Rawalpindi and across Pakistan to come forward and play a role for strict implementation of SOPs in their respective markets and business areas. He urged them to make sure of enforcement of the policy of no mask and no entry in shops, markets, shopping malls, commercial and industrial areas.
He also appealed to the general public to contribute in their respective localities across the country for strict implementation of SOPs as together we can make Pakistan a safe country from Covid-19 pandemic and save our businesses and economy from further losses.