KARACHI: For facilitating trade and industry, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has decided to keep banks open on May 10-11, while the Ministry of Commerce also announced that export industries and their suppliers — indirect exporters — will remain operational on May 10-12.
Earlier, the SBP announced that banks will remain closed from May 10 to 15th for Eid holidays.
An official announcement of the commerce ministry said that the decision was taken following the approach of the business community for clarification regarding business operations during the long Eid holidays. Ports and Customs will also be operational during the break period.
The business community including trade and industry expressed serious concerns over the long holidays while exporters and pharmaceutical industry termed the holidays disastrous for the economy.
Banks to stay open on Monday and Tuesday
The traders in markets were extremely worried about the liquidity they would generate by selling before Eid as keeping cash in house or anywhere other than banks could be highly risky.
“In order to ensure the availability of banking services to trade and industry in particular and public in general during the extended holidays before the forthcoming Eidul Fitr, it has been decided that banks shall open 50 per cent of their total authorised branches dealing in foreign exchange and trade activities on May 10 (Monday) while the remaining 50pc of such branches on May 11 (Tuesday) from 9:00am to 2:00pm (without break),” said a circular issued by the State Bank on Thursday.
There is fear among the trade and industry that increasing infections rate of Covid-19 could be resulted into imposition of complete lockdown across the country that would hurt the economy as eid-related products could not be sold out.
ST return date extended
Separately, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) due to Eid holidays has extended the date of payment and submission of sales tax and federal excise return for April under Section 74 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990 and Section 43 of the Federal Excise Act 2005.
In its letter to all Chief Commissioners IR, the FBR has informed about the extension in date of payment of sales tax and FED up to May 18, which was earlier set as May 15. Similarly, the date of submission of sales tax and federal excise return has been extended up to May 21 which was earlier set as May 18.
Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2021