KARACHI: Exporters and manufacturers on Thursday blamed Sindh government for causing unnecessary delays in allowing export-oriented sectors to operate production units during the lockdown in order to clear pending shipments.
The provincial government had asked textile and leather garments exporters to fill a proforma seeking details on export orders, staff required to meet production targets, arrangement of health, safety and environment, social distancing mechanism for workers during the lockdown and arrangements for screening of workers, testing and subsequent isolation and reporting arrangements of suspected workers, available export stock ready to ship and its transportation arrangements.
The plan to allow exporters to operate their units was discussed at a committee meeting held under the chairmanship of the Home Department additional chief secretary, General Administration secretary and Labor Department secretary on Mar 25.
The meeting was informed that a number of exporters had approached the provincial government to allow them to operate some units as they had already received orders from foreign clients and stocks were ready for shipment.
The exporters assured authorities to adhere to the government and the World Health Organisation guidelines regarding transportation and workplace safety. They said that in case of an inadvertent situation, the manufacturers will not blame provincial government.
Textile and leather exporters are unhappy over the lethargic attitude of provincial government in allowing exporters to reopen their units.
Pakistan Apparel Forum Chief Coordinator and Karachi Industrial Forum Chairman Jawed Bilwani said he had sent a request for opening of 75 textile export units but the provincial government did not pay heed to their request.
“We need at least three to five days to off load our export shipments as well as be able to hand over salaries of workers and staffers,” he said.
“We will not have any objection if a lockdown or curfew is imposed after clearing of export shipments in five days,” Bilwani said while adding that “we can manage our pending export shipments with 20-25 people rather than hundreds of employees.”
Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PLGMEA) Chairman Fawad Ejaz Khan said barring Italy, France and Spain, exports are being dispatched to other coronavirus-free countries via air and sea routes.
However, the Sindh government is unnecessarily taking too many days in giving permission to exporting units even after the proposal was approved by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday.
He said that DG Rangers had also said that there was no issue in reopening the units for a few days.
He said exporters are also managing shipments through DHL, Qatar and Emirates Airlines through their cargo freighter service for the countries where coronavirus is yet to hit.
He said the federal government including Adviser to PM on Industries Abdul Razzak Dawood wants continuation of exports but the Sindh government is causing unnecessary delays.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2020