LAHORE: The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have hit out at the PTI-led government for ignoring the small industry and facilitating the five export-oriented sectors alone amid Covid-19 situation across the country.

“We are observing very closely the government’s announcements especially their implementation stage. Simply a majority of the government’s decisions / announcements are not being implemented in letter and spirit,” Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers chairman Muhammad Akram told Dawn.

“The government had announced that it would defer the electricity and gas bills for a couple of months. But later, the power distribution companies (Discos) including Lahore Electric Supply Company refused to do so stating that it was for those having bill under 300 units alone. Similarly, the gas utilities too refused to either extend or make installments of the bills amounting to over Rs2,000,” he complained.

At present, 20 per cent of the industry including five export sectors is operational in the country. Similarly, the others included essential emergency supplies related to day-to-day consumption and living of citizens which if disrupted may cause civil unrest.

The PAAPAM chief said the banks too were not ready to defer the markup. “They are just ready to the extent of principal amount and not the markup. So what is the benefit we are getting as markup would remain same,” he added.

Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan chairman Tahir Jahangir appreciates the State Bank announcement of soft loans for payment of wages to workers during the pandemic.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2020

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