RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) has demanded extension in business hours during Ramazan and urged the government to review its notification to close normal businesses by 6pm.

In a statement, the traders’ body said shortening the time for businesses would have an adverse effect on business activities prior to Eid.

It said the business community has suffered badly due to Covid-19. It has been proposed that business hours during Ramazan should be extended to 11pm. Representative bodies of the chamber should also be taken into confidence as RCCI had urged the government to consult stakeholders whilst finalising policies related to trade.

RCCI President Nasir Mirza said: “Reducing hours for business activities for a country like Pakistan would certainly be very harmful for our economy.”

He said the country’s economy is already going through difficult times and many businesses are at the verge of closure while thousands of workers were rendered jobless.

The government should take measures to ensure strict implementation of SOPs in markets and allow all businesses to operate at normal timings to save them from further losses, he suggested.

He proposed that measures should be taken to avoid rush at business premises, hand sanitisers should be kept ready at business places and social distancing should be maintained. RCCI is already running a social media awareness campaign on wearing masks and urged its members and trade bodies to strictly observe SOPs.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2021

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