Reopening of marquees & wedding halls demanded

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By Asad Cheema

ISLAMABAD: A delegation of Marquees and Wedding Halls Association (MWHA) visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Thursday and demanded of the government to allow reopening of their businesses as putting ban on holding functions in marquees and marriage halls have resulted in financial crisis for them and rendered thousands of workers jobless.
Luqman Afzal, The Monal, Mukhtar Abbas Paradise Marquee, Sheikh Jamshed Orchid Marquee, Ashraf Shahbaz Blessings Marquee, Bakhtawar Butt Clay Oven Marquee, Waqar Sahi Fortress and Salman Ashraf Hanif Rajput were in the delegation. Tahir Abbasi Senior Vice President ICCI, Khalid Chaudhry, Naveed Malik, Ashfaq Chatha, Faheem Khan and others were also present at the occasion.
Addressing the delegation, President ICCI Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said that marquees and wedding halls were generating lot of economic activity as business of many other sectors was linked with this industry. He said these businesses were suffering great losses due to routine expenditures including rent, staff wages and utility bills due to lockdown and government should allow them to reopen to save them from further destruction.
The ICCI President said thousands of workers were earning livelihood from these businesses and keeping them closed would give rise to poverty. He said when other businesses have been opened with SOPs, marquees and wedding halls should also be reopened as their owners were ready to operate their businesses in compliance with laid out SOPs.
He said that these businesses were also contributing towards tax revenue and government would also lose tax revenue by keeping them closed. He further said that government should allow marquees and wedding halls to pay their utility bills in 3-4 monthly instalments.
Speaking at the occasion, the members of Marquees & Wedding Halls Association (MWHA) said that owners of marquees and wedding halls were now on the verge of bankruptcy and if they were not allowed to reopen, 80% businesses of this industry would face permanent closure.
They stressed that government should announce a relief package for this industry and allow them to reopen so that they could start future bookings. They said their industry was completely shut down on 14th March, 2020 on a short notice due to which thousands of workers have lost their jobs causing extreme poverty to their families.
They said due to closure of marquees and wedding halls, many other allied businesses including meat, poultry, jewelers, bridal clothing, florist, furniture, crockery suppliers, tent services, waiter suppliers, wedding bands, valet staff, lighting and generator suppliers were also suffering losses.
They said their business was much safer and they would run business according to SOPs. They said they have a complete plan to safeguard the health of their customers and workers and government should give them a date for reopening.