Punjab govt urged to allow manufacturing of exportable items

LAHORE: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA)-Punjab has taken up the issue regarding ‘closure of textile mills during the lockdown period in Punjab’ with the provincial government through Punjab Industries and Commerce Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal.

APTMA has asked the government to allow the continuation of manufacturing and transportation of exportable items, Pakistan Today has learnt.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Monday had announced a 14-day lockdown in the province to control the spread of COVID-19. Addressing a press conference after chairing the Punjab cabinet committee meeting on coronavirus, he had said the lockdown would be enforced from March 24 at 9:00am till April 6.

APTMA, in a letter written by its Acting Secretary General Mohammad Raza Baqir to the textile millers, informed that Punjab government on March 23 had ordered the closure of all offices, transport, gatherings, manufacturing/business premises etc. with effect from Tuesday.

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Baqir stated that the aforesaid order has brought all commercial and business activities to a standstill.

“It has resulted in the closure of offices, cessation of production and manufacturing operations, suspension of transportation goods and stoppage of supplies both for domestic and foreign markets,” he said. “However, due to commitments with the foreign buyers, the matter has now been taken up by the APTMA Punjab management with the provincial government through Mian Aslam Iqbal.”

Baqir informed the millers that the minister has committed to taking up the matter with the provincial cabinet and to come up with an amicable solution to facilitate unhindered exports from the country.

“It is expected that the outcome of consultations within the provincial government would be known after the Punjab cabinet meeting,” he added.

The acting secretary general, however, requested the member mills to ensure compliance with the directions contained regarding lockdown in the aforementioned order.

Baqir said that keeping in view the extreme financial gravity due to the existing situation, APTMA has also approached Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) to suspend payment of adhoc and regular bills till lifting of lockdown.

“Similarly, the power distribution companies (DISCOs) have been requested to extend the payment of current electricity bills till the withdrawal of lockdown in Punjab.”

 

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Hassan Naqvi
The writer is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected]
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