ICCI cautions prolonged lockdown to cripple economy

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has shown great concerns over the prolonged lockdown as it would cause permanent closure of millions of businesses and cripple the growth of overall economy.
Therefore, it called upon the government to ease restrictions and allow gradual opening of businesses as due to continuous lockdown, labor was losing daily earnings and financial problems of business community were multiplying.
Muhammad Ahmed Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that Asad Umar Federal Minister for Planning & Development has himself stated that lockdown due to pandemic could cause closure of up to one million business institutions rendering 18 million people jobless and pushing up to 70 million people below the poverty line, which showed that gravity of situation caused by continuous lockdowns.
He urged that to start with, construction industry in Islamabad should be opened forthwith to provide jobs to idle labor and spur business activities. He said that if the current lockdown continued, many corporate companies would be at risk of default that would have long-term negative impact on the economy.
ICCI President said that especially those factories should be opened immediately whose labor was residing in factory premises as in shutdown mode, industries were unable to keep bearing the burden of labor, employees and utility bills.
He said that during a meeting with Asad Umar Federal Minister for Planning & Development and Hammad Azhar Federal Minister for Industries few days ago, they were apprised of the issues of business community, but still their concerns were not addressed. He strongly demanded that after early finalization of SOPs, businesses and industries in Islamabad should be opened to provide jobs to labor and revive the crippled business activities.