–SOPs to be based on opinions of health experts and principles of labour and industries, says Shah
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah on Sunday, soon after the Sindh Traders Alliance’s (STA) announcement to open all markets across the province from April 14, issued directives for provincial and law enforcement authorities to devise standard operating procedures (SOPs) for industries and businesses that had been allowed to operate.
STA member Sheikh Habib said that they have decided to take back their decision of opening markets from April 6. “We have decided to cooperate with the Sindh government. So, all markets across the province would now open from April 14,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Sindh CM while chairing a meeting that was attended by Health Minister Azra Pechuho, Sindh Education and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani, Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, the provincial government’s spokesperson Murtaza Wahab and others, directed for the SOPs to be drafted at the earliest so business may begin again.
“The SOPs to be based on the opinions of health experts and principles of labour and industries,” he instructed.
On April 2, All Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI) Chairman Atiq Mir had said that a complete lockdown is causing huge losses to traders.
Expressing his views while talking on a local channel, he said that traders are not against the government’s decision of a lockdown, but they should be allowed to work at least two or three days a week. “We are concerned about the situation of daily-wage labours,” he said, adding that traders are aware of the current situation but also want to see the country prosper.
It may be noted here that Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) President Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan has requested the Sindh chief minister 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 had 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 had that the business and industrial community would not be able to sustain the entire burden of wages and salaries for more than a 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 had said.
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 while all other non-food industries remain completely closed, producing zero revenue.