The Lahore Chamber of Commerce on Thursday welcomed relief package of Rs. 125 billion for small industries and daily workers amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
In a statement, the LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar and Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad said that relief package of Rs. 50 billion for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Rs. 75 billion for daily labourers would help small traders and workers combat with the challenges posed by lockdown due to coronavirus.
They said that all concerned authorities would have to utilize their all energies to achieve the desired goals. They said that under the package, the federal government would pay the power bills of small businesses across the country for the month of May, June and July benefiting nearly 3.5 million shopkeepers across the country in addition to Rs. 12,000 for daily labourerrs.
The LCCI office-bearers said that these were demands of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. They said that implementation of these measures would definitely tackle down the severe economic effects to the small businesses and labourers.
The LCCI office-bearers said that government is taking praiseworthy measures to deal with the ongoing circumstances and business community hope that more relief measures would be taken. They said that government would have to take some additional measures to address the grievances of small businesses. They said that the interest payments of the small businesses should be deferred for a period of six months.
They said that the Government should also introduce a scheme of interest free loans for the registered SMEs. The credit limit for registered SMEs should be ten times of their respective electricity bills.
“We would also advocate that supportive measures for the shopkeepers across the country should be introduced so that they only have to pay 50% of their rent each month for the next 6 months while the remaining rent is waived off”, they added. \They hoped that government would also give relief to the trade, industry and the masses on utility and petroleum products prices. They said that oil prices in the international market have fallen heavily while prices in US market have gone negative.
They said that reduction in utility and petroleum products prices would bring down the cost of doing business besides reducing the living cost of common man.
The LCCI office-bearers also hoped that government would start negotiations with IMF and G-20 countries for restructuring of loans.