–Only revenue being generated is by food industry
KARACHI: Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) President Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan has requested Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah to devise an effective mechanism for providing immediate relief to perturbed businessmen and industrialists by directing the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) to discontinue collection of all types of taxes, including service tax and other levies.
In a letter sent to the Sindh chief minister on Saturday, the KCCI president referred to the Punjab government’s Rs18 billion relief package in the wake of the prevailing economic situation due to coronavirus, underscoring that the SRB must stop collecting taxes during the next four to six months and should only resume when the situation improves.
Agha said that the business and industrial community, which is already providing cash and food to the needy Karachiites on humanitarian grounds, would try its best to somehow sustain the entire burden of wages and salaries payable for this month only but they will not be able to do so next month.
“We need special relief package in which the entire cost of wages is borne by the government but if it is not in a position to do so, a mechanism has to be adopted for a period of at least two to three months in which the aggregate amount of salaries payable by each and every industry should be fragmented into three equal portions whereas the first portion should be paid by the relevant industrialist and the government should contribute to the second portion while the last portion has to be borne by labourers,” he added.
The private sector needs relief to deal with the stress on their balance sheets, avoiding lay-offs and rescuing industrial units from becoming sick or bankrupt,” he said.
“The business and industrial community fully supports all the initiatives taken by the government to completely eradicate COVID-19 from Pakistan but at the same time, we are equally cognizant and concerned about the hardships being faced by hundreds and thousands of poor labourers, daily-wage earners and their families who must be going through awful stress,” the KCCI president said, adding that it is high time that the government extends the desperately needed helping hand to the business and industrial community so that they survive in the ongoing circumstances.
While appreciating the efforts being made by the Sindh government to prevent and minimise the damages caused by the pandemic, Agha noted that the Sindh government took many tough and praiseworthy decisions to save precious lives.
However, he said that the overall industrial production in seven industrial town zones was suffering badly due to the lockdown due to which only 20 to 40 per cent of revenue was being generated by industries engaged in manufacturing food items only while all other non-food industries remain completely closed, producing zero revenue.