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Saturday May 01 2021
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Coronavirus in Pakistan: Business community asks govt to cut Eid holidays

Containers placed at a port in Karachi. File photo
  • Govt announces six holidays for Eidul Fitr from May 10-15.
  • Zubair Motiwala says shutting down the economy for an excessive period will only aggravate hardships for the business community.
  • Businessmen are of the view that prolonged holidays will affect exporters.


KARACHI: The government has been asked by the business community to cut the six-day “unprecedentedly long” Eid holidays, saying it will be “extremely counterproductive” for business and the economy.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), as part of its ‘Stay Home Stay Safe Strategy’ to curb the COVID-19 spread had declared May 10-15 (Monday to Saturday) Eidul Fitr holidays.

“Shutting down the country for nine consecutive days was unacceptable as it would create a lot of problems for the economy and the business community,” Businessmen Group chairperson Zubair Motiwala said in a statement on Friday.

Read more: Eid holidays to be observed from May 10-15 in Pakistan

“It will particularly hurt exporters, who will not be able to dispatch their shipments abroad due to complete closure of banks, ports, customs and all other departments during excessive holidays.”

Motiwala said as Eidul Fitr is likely to be observed in Pakistan either on May 13 or 14, the decision did not make any sense hence, it must be reviewed to save the economy and businesses from suffering grave losses.

“Keeping in view the overall business and economic crises being faced by the country, the government must review this decision and announce Eid holidays from May 12 to 15, which will certainly give some breathing space to exporters by enabling them to dispatch shipments on 10th and 11th May, 2021.”

Read more: Chand raat bazaars, shopping malls to remain closed from May 8-15, says NCOC

He said shutting down the economy for an excessive period will only aggravate hardships for the already perturbed business community.

“The business and industrial community of Karachi has already suffered losses due to limited business hours imposed to contain further spread of COVID-19 pandemic whereas the suspension of banking services and port operations for nine consecutive days would further multiply the losses for trade, industry, businesses and the economy,” Motiwala said.

He said given the depressing performance of almost all sectors of the economy, particularly the dwindling exports, the government is bound to make sure the wheels of industry keep moving without any interruption.

“We cannot afford such prolonged holidays as they result in losses of billions of rupees to the national exchequer, terribly affect trading activities particularly exports and deprive the poor daily wage earners from their desperately needed earnings,” he added.