(March 30, 2020)
Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA) and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said the government has broken the back of hoarders and profiteers planning another artificial crisis by lifting ban on the movement of fleet operators and goods transporters.
The provincial governments should also follow the suit and allow the food-related industry to start operations to deal a fatal blow to the unholy designs enemies of the masses, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that government should direct the Customs, Railway and district administration officials to facilitate imports and exports to save the maximum number of jobs.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the business community was not prepared for the destruction caused by the coronavirus, therefore, government should start bailing out all the sectors of the economy.
The former minister noted that imports worth 50 billion dollars are as important as exports worth 23 billion dollars. Millions of people are linked to the import sector therefore commercial importers should also be bailed out so that they can continue their activities.
He said that bills of landings could not come from China during the month of February leading to fines by shipping companies and port authorities which should be waived while no fines or late charges should be slapped until the month of June.
The bank markup and withholding tax should be waived or at least reduced by 50 percent from February to June while customs duty for the shipments in the pipeline should be reduced by 50 percent.
The commercial importers facing financial problems should be bailed out through interest-free loans, he said, adding that the government has announced an Rs100 billion package for SMEs and agriculture but details are vague.
He said that the central bank should help IT sector and all the SMEs by economical loans, the date for filing returns should be extended and loans worth 25 percent of the assets shown in the last returns should be provided without delay.
The business leader said that the limit of credit cards should be doubled, interest should be waived, while payment date should be extended for three months which will provide relief to masses and restore confidence.
He said that the travel agents, IT, transport, fleet operators, commercial importers, small traders, hospitality and tourism sectors have faced colossal losses which merits package as millions of households are dependent on these sectors, he said.