Lockdown changed habits, preferences of consumers. Businessmen should not delay adjustment to new realities. All businesses should be allowed to operate.

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(May 27, 2020)

FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel SVP, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said prolonged lockdown has changed the habits and preferences of consumers. The business community should carefully analyze the situation and adapt to the new realities to save their businesses from bankruptcy, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that masses have endured lockdown for two months and it can be extended. Lockdown damaged businesses while masses faced monetary problems therefore all the businesses in Sindh and all across the country including markets, offices, and banks etc. should be reopened.

Small, medium and large scale industrial units should be allowed to run on full capacity so that masses can take a break and government can collect revenue, he said, adding that running businesses while properly following SOPs will serve them better than unemployment, hunger or disease.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that masses preferred to spend on basic necessities during the lockdown and they may not spend unnecessarily even if the lockdown is lifted.

The former minister noted that masses will now prefer to save money for difficult times which will take a toll on many businesses. Investors should realize that the demand for goods and services will decline resulting in new challenges.

He said that industrialists should prefer more than one suppliers as the majority is dependent on China while local pharma industry is fully dependent on India which must be diversified.

The government should also promote the production of raw material in the country to avoid supply chain disruptions in the future.

The veteran business leader said that Pakistan lost many export orders due to delayed supply of raw material, buttons and zips from China which resulted in heavy losses.

He said that the lockdown has damaged many small businesses including tourism, hospitality, restaurants, wedding halls, entertainment, etc. and many of these would be unable to resume business without support.

Those involve in big businesses will also face problems as western countries will introduce strict rules for inspection of imports which will be a challenge.

He said that digital technology will gain importance, automatic payments will be the preferred mode which the health services will gain unprecedented importance in the time to come. The companies avoiding technology and online sales would be committing suicide, he warned.

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