ICCI calls for ‘comprehensive strategy’ to plug losses caused by COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Muhammad Ahmed Waheed has stressed the need to evolve a comprehensive strategy so as to mitigate the business losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Talking to APP on Wednesday, he said in the wake of coronavirus, the business community across the country has adopted all necessary measures as directed by the government.

“Owing to this issue, businesses and industrial units had been closed, but they have to pay monthly commercial bills of gas and electricity, which is adding to their difficulties,” the ICCI presdient said, urging the government to defer the collection of commercial utility bills from the business community for a few months so that it was able to cope with the current crisis.

Ahmed further said that if deferment of utility bills was not possible, the business community should at least be allowed to pay monthly commercial bills in three instalments till the time the COVID-19 issue was over.

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He said the entire of the country, including the federal capital, was in a complete lockdown-like situation, iwung to which markets and industrial units were closed.

“But the business community has to pay the wages of workers and meet their day-to-day expenses,” he added.

He claimed that all the industries under his chamber had retained their employees as per the ICCI’s direction. “We will pay all their dues and salaries in this crisis.”

On a question, he said that despite closure of industrial activities, industrialists have to pay mark-up of banks on a daily basis, which was putting more pressure on them.

He urged the government to issue directions to commercial banks to immediately defer the receipt of mark up from industrialists for a few months to save the industry from further troubles.

Ahmed Waheed said that in these difficult circumstances, instead of earning profits, banks should realize the problems of industry and freeze the receipt of their mark up for few months.

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