LAHORE: Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) president Mian Anjum Nisar has urged the private terminal operators to be sensible and act upon the government direction of extending free demurrages and detention period amid the Covid-19 crisis.
He was talking with Customs Today here the other day. He said that due to the concentrated efforts of Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) the government has deferred electricity bills and given up demurrage and detention charges for the 15 days. Answering to a question about importers complaints against terminal operators, Nisar said that this is a fact that private terminal operators are defying the government’s orders but the government-owned operators are obeying the directions in letter and spirit. “We have demanded of the waivers of the demurrages and detentions charges and not asking for their charges of terminals and they must have to give up with their stances amid the calamity through which whole the world is passing. This is not the right time to think of profit only but to face the calamity collectively with mutual corporation,” he stated, adding that most private terminals have also started implementing and the Gwadar Port management is even ready not to charge the actual charges of their terminals.
Talking about government bailout package for the trade and industry, he said that the government should introduce Bangladesh like full-fledged bailout package and defer payment of gas, electricity and other bills for Pakistani business and industry.
Following the unusual and challenge situation due to COVID-19 lockdown businesses have lost billions of rupees as there is a complete shutdown due to which all the industry and trade activity has come to grinding halt within the period besides there is no income but mark-up like overheads which are piling upon the lockdown period, he said.
“Despite the fact that industry is non-operative, factories are closed, 11 percent of markup will be charged by the owners even in the current uneven situation. The businessmen are worried about that while the post –COVID-19 situation does also seem grim as the entrepreneurs has to pay markup, electricity bills and wages of the labour and it does not likely that they would be able to continue after the challenging situation like COVID-19.
“What to talk about waivers of gas and electricity bills the government is not ready to allow the deferments of utility bills right now due to which situation has aggravated. We have never seen such the grim conditions in our life time,” he said.
“In order to face the pre and post COVID situation governments around the world are announcing mega trade and industry bailout packages as against our government. The governments are announcing these packages to the trade and industry for enabling the stakeholders to face post-COVID scenario in better ways but in our case there is nothing worth mentioning.
Perhaps the government has no sufficient resources,” he explained, adding that if the government does pass on any relief to the industry things will be arduous ahead.