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Punjab suffers Rs150b loss
Jawwad Rizvi

THE economy of Punjab has suffered almost Rs150 billion loss due to ongoing political agitation in its provincial capital on the Inqilab and Azadi march calls given by Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan during the last one week.

The Punjab government had sealed the entry and exit points of the Lahore and some other mega industrial cities of the province on August 8, 2014 to counter the PAT workers moment to reach its headquarters located in Model Town Lahore to participate in Youm-e-Shuhada. Since then the economic activities remained paralysed in the industrial cities of the Punjab, including, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Wazirabad, Gujrat, Lahore and Sheikhupura which caused billion of rupees loss to the businesses while also huge loss to national exchequer through low revenue generation and daily wagers who were deprived of work which worsened their agony with the political system and agitation by the politicians in Pakistan.

Mian Idrees of an industry believed that Manchester of Pakistan had suffered almost Rs90 billion loss during the last one week following the closure or slowing down of the business and trade activities across the Punjab and Pakistan. ‘The businesses were already slow due to long Eid Holidays while it was about to take proper start but the political agitation started in Punjab which adversely affected everyone”, Mian Idrees commented.

The exports consignments were halted and delayed either at godowns, on roads and at ports while transporters were not ready to move consignments in the province roads due to this situation.

He said Faisalabad contributes the largest share in the textile sector exports of Pakistan while textile is leading exporting sector of country. Thus one can calculate the loss incurred to the businesses of Faisalabad due to closure of roads by installing containers. ‘The international businesses already hesitate to do business with Pakistan and now this situation will further increase their mistrust in Pakistani businesses for doing business,” he said.

This is important to find out who will be beneficiary of entire situation, he said, adding that India and other countries will benefit while capturing Pakistan’s share from world market. He believed that political issues could be resolved through discussion and talks on table while the procedure adopted by Marchers did not suitable for Pakistan at this juncture while government should also show responsibility by accepting their genuine demands.

Saad Mukhtar of a freight forwarding and clearing company said that transporters were not ready to move consignments between Lahore and Karachi. “The freight has increased by Rs25,000 due to ongoing uncertainty reached at one way tariff of Rs100,000 between Karachi-Lahore consignments”, he said, adding that majority of the companies even not interested to do business. Other than this producers, importers and exporters have also delayed their shipments by holding them back to their factories, godowns, and dry ports which causing them extra demurrage. The businessmen always preferred to suffer demurrage rather putting their consignments at risk by halting them along roadsides, he added.

‘One can safely estimates that supplies of goods and consignments are delayed now with one week backlog’, he said. This mean country suffers at least seven days production and economic activities which accumulated almost 60 percent of country total one week production.

Manzoor Malik, an industrialist running his factory on Sheikhupura Industrial Zone said the industry of this area caused almost Rs5 billion loss since the containers installed to seal the entry and exit points of Lahore and other cities. “Everything was halted in the Sheikhupura Industries as it was dependent on the supplies or raw material, highly skilled human resources like engineers and technician, and owners from Lahore”, he said, adding that the majority of labour also come from Lahore and other adjacent towns and villages who were also unable to reach the factories.

Manzoor sought government relief to the all Punjab-based industry for 10 days relief in taxes and other collection of the government from them during the days their business closed due to political agitation. ‘We are sufferer of the situation due to mishandling of the government of all the issue, so now the government should compensate us as well,’ he argued.

Hameed Akhtar Chadha, an industrialist from Wazirabad said that all the factories of the Gujranwala, Wazirabad and Gujrat were closed for the last four days. The economic activities are suspended in the industrial districts of the country while these three districts suffer around Rs10 billion loss for the last one week due to closure and hurdles in the moment of trade consignments. ‘When nothing is incoming or outgoing possible than how the trade activity possible anywhere’, he questioned. The situation of the daily wagers is the most pathetic in the whole situation as this under nourished segment of society gets food when factories operates but due to closure of businesses, factories and trading activities they were failed to get any work, he lamented.

Abdul Basit, a leading poultry businessman of Lahore estimated Rs5 billion loss to the Punjab based poultry industry for the last one week. “Matured broiler birds, chicks and supplies of chicken bird spoiled during the travelling from farms to markets following closure and hurdles installed on the roads by the government to counter the March,” he said. He pointed out that almost half of birds and chicks died during travelling to their final destination due to humid and harsh weather on roads as the roads were unnecessarily blocked. Every stakeholder, farmers to consumers suffered as price of chicken meat increased due to demand and supply gap while farmers incurred huge losses due to abrupt deaths of broiler birds during transportation.

On the other hand, the businesses and industries of the Lahore located in two different industrial states have suffered around Rs25 to 30 billion losses, Abdul Basit remarked.

Curtsey:The News, Friday, August 15, 2014 






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