Leather industry seeks exemption from lockdown restrictions

Fearing 'colossal losses' in exports, PLGMEA chief urges govt to allow manufacturing units to operate in double shifts

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SIALKOT: The Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PLGMEA) has urged the government to exempt the export-oriented units in Punjab from lockdown restrictions on Saturdays as well, besides allowing them to work in double shifts so that export orders could be met on time.

In a statement issued on Saturday, PLGMEA Chief Syed Nadeem Abbas stated that export-oriented units were fully aware of Covid-19 and were strictly following the government’s SOPs.

He said the implementation of social distancing during industrial operations could improve if the workers were allowed to work in double shifts. “This will help the units maintain the size of the workforce and avoid unemployment in this critical time.”

He said exporters were highly perturbed due to the Covid-19 situation and wanted to meet their pending export orders at the earliest. Enhanced working days will allow them to send shipments on time and avoid colossal financial losses, he added.

Abbas said the government had taken an appreciable step by allowing the export-oriented industries to operate during the Covid-19 lockdown. “However, this relief should also be extended to Saturdays, as the industry fears suffering up to 30pc loss [in exports] under the present circumstances.”

He maintained that the export industry was the backbone of the economy and playing a great role in generating employment as well as revenue. 

“The closure of industries and economic activities is not a solution to curtail the spread of Covid-19. Instead, it is more important we take protective and precautionary measures in order to ensure the safety of people and continuity of businesses.”

He stressed the need for collective efforts to mitigate the coronavirus challenges so as to ensure a sustainable socio-economic development.

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