Govt’s ‘smart lockdown strategy’ proved beneficial for businesses, traders say

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ISLAMABAD: The business and traders’ community has hailed the government’s smart lockdown strategy adopted during Covid-19, saying that it benefited the local businesses, especially export and construction sectors.

Addressing the media on Monday, Islamabad Chamber Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said, “The government provided good incentives to the local industrial sector, especially export-oriented businesses besides offering huge relief package to the constitution sector.”

He said that the government came up with a comprehensive strategy that helped mitigate the losses the businesses community might have faced due to the coronavirus spread. The ICCI President particularly mentioned the timely payment of sales and income tax refunds which bolstered the businesses.

Additionally, he said, the decision to reduce interest rate by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) was made in a timely manner. He urged commercial banks to offer credit to businesses, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

He termed the report by Moody’s as an encouraging sign as it would promote the country’s image and help the government attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

The ICCI president stressed on the need for proper utilization of the economic package provided by the government and also highlighted the need for modernizing the industrial sector to increase exports.

Speaking on the occasion, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Saboor Malik said that as compared to other regional economies, Pakistan’s government has adopted a balanced approach to deal with Covid-19 challenges. “We adopted a good approach and protected the local business from the negative impact of Covid- 19 challenge,” he remarked.

He recalled that during the pandemic, the government announced packages for local businesses, released refunds besides providing relief in utility bills, which he said gave a huge relief to the local industry.

He added that the government’s economic package, especially for the construction and export sector would help generate economic activities and boost the local industrial sector.
President RCCI said that Prime Minister Imran Khan emerged as a visionary leader as the smart lockdown strategy was appreciated across the world and various economies followed this course of action.

The RCCI chief expressed the hope that the positive ranking by Moody’s would have a positive impact on Pakistan’s economy.

He said there was a huge need for coordination between all stakeholders to come on one page for resolving the issues of the business community.

Meanwhile, Senior Vice President of Pakistan Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Qaisar Khan Daudzai also appreciated the government’s strategy of a smart lockdown for Covid-19 and said that the business community admired the package provided by the government especially for exports and construction industry.

He lauded the overall leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan during Covid-19 situation and said that as compared to the other countries, the government had adopted a very good strategy for lowering the impact of the pandemic on the local business.

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