KARACHI: The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Tuesday urged the Sindh government to allow small traders and shopkeepers in the city to open businesses ahead of Eidul Fitr from iftar to sehri so that they could recoup some of the losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Urging the provincial government to minimise the hardships faced by distressed citizens including the trading community in Karachi, KCCI president Shariq Vohra suggested that restrictions on businesses should be lifted for two days (Wednesday and Thursday) before Eid from dusk till dawn.
The representatives of commercial markets associations have also assured the KCCI that they will fully comply with the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) during these days.
Chairman of KCCI Special Committee for Small Traders Majeed Memon pointed out that many shopkeepers were already going through a terrible crisis due to limited business activities since the Covid-19 pandemic made its way to Pakistan. “The government must look into the possibility of providing them relief for just two days before Eid,” he said.
“The situation, if not wisely handled, would lead to intensifying the hardships of the business community and the already ailing economy. This will trigger massive unemployment and poverty which would prove more dangerous than the pandemic,” Mr Memon added.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Businessmen Group and former president KCCI Zubair Motiwala said, “Keeping in view the not so bad numbers of Covid-19 cases in Karachi, we believe that there is some room available to allow shopkeepers to keep their businesses open ahead of Eid. This [move] will be widely welcomed by small traders as well as a large number of Karachiites who will be able to complete their shopping for Eid,” he said.
President of All City Tajir Itehad Association (ACTIA) Sharjeel Gopalani said Karachi has not witnessed any serious crisis-like situation amid the pandemic and this makes a case for opening the commercial and shopping centres on Wednesday and Thursday. “Traders wait for Eid sales every year as they make heavy investments worth billions of rupees by ordering festive items from manufacturers besides making arrangements for stocks,” he added.
Mr Gopalani claimed that consumers were barely able to shop for Eid before the imposition of a full lockdown few days back. “As a result, shopkeepers are already distressed by the idea of facing financial losses due to unsold stocks,” he said. “The worst hit during the market closures are daily wage workers who coud not be able to make dresses for their kids besides meeting their daily needs.”
Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2021