ICCI calls for extending business timings up to 10 pm to save economy from further losses
Islamabad : The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has called upon the government to extend the business timings in markets from current 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm and for food outlets/restaurants up to 12 midnight so that business activities could flourish smoothly that would help in reviving the overall economy.
Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that with the increase in vaccination of people, the average positivity rate of Covid-19 pandemic has now come down to 5.9% reflecting an improvement, therefore, it was important that the timings for businesses should be enhanced to give ample time to customers for shopping and avoid overcrowding in commercial areas. He said that shopping malls across Pakistan were ensuring strict implementation of SOPs by adopting the policy of no mask no entry and they should be allowed to operate as per normal working hours for 7 days a week. He said that cinemas worldwide were opened by maintaining social distancing between seats and the government should open them in Pakistan with 60-70 percent capacity of viewers as these businesses were closed for more than a year and were now on the verge of bankruptcy. He further said that Pakistan has already suffered an estimated economic loss of Rs.2.5 trillion in 2020 and was anticipated to suffer additional loss of over Rs.1 trillion this year due to restrictions on businesses while the livelihoods of over 18 million workers have been badly affected. Therefore, it was high time that the government should remove all restrictions on businesses to save businesses from further damages, workers from job losses and economy from plunging into further recession.
Meanwhile, Ms. Fatma Azim, Senior Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry along with a delegation of restaurants association held a meeting with NCOC authorities and stressed that indoor and outdoor dining in restaurants should be allowed as these restaurants all over the Middle East and most of the Europe were allowing indoor dining with acrylic or glass partitions between each table to maintain safe distance. She said that the restaurant associations and all shopping malls in Pakistan were also willing to install the same acrylic partitions to maintain social distancing between each table, therefore, they should be allowed indoor and outdoor dining up to 12 midnight.