KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in his meeting with leading industrialists and exporters here on Saturday at CM House said that he would discuss with his cabinet members and government machinery as to how and under which conditions and SOP, if necessary, export-based industry could be allowed to start operation.

“This was not an easy decision to impose lockdown and stop the spinning wheel of the industry,” he said and added: “I had only one option either to save the economy at the cost of the people or to protect the people from Coronavirus at the cost of the economy and I opted for protecting my people at the cost of the economy.” He said that now we were facing the music and payment of salary for the current month had become difficult for him but he would manage.

He said the lockdown could not be withdrawn immediately, but it would be eased out after April 14. Those who attended the meeting include Qasim Siraj Teli and othersThe Chief Minister said that so far, no coronavirus case had been detected in slum area and katchi abadi. All the cases have been diagnosed among the people living in settled areas who either have travel history or have been locally transmitted, he said and added if any case emerged from slum area then it would spread like fire in forest.

Keeping in view the sensitivity of the situation, he said, he imposed lock down and shut down all government offices, except of essential services and business except grocery shops and stores. Shah said that the monthly salary bill of the government/local government employees was around Rs45 billion for which major funds were being provided by the federal government from the divisible pool.

“As a matter of fact, in the last few month of every financial year, the federal government funding increases but last month, in March, it has decreased drastically to Rs33 billion,” he said and went on saying the reason was being short of revenue collection at the end of the federal government.

 

“The federal government is also facing difficult situation,” he said.The industrialist said that they had received export orders and if the failed to export their finished goods the orders would be withdrawn. “This would not only be detrimental to the national economy but it is bound to damage their credibility in the international market,” they said. The exporters and industrialists said that the lock down had left the produced goods unpacked or half-finished at their units, therefore they should be given an SOP of maintaining hygiene, social distancing and transportation of their workers to the factory and be allowed to start operation.

 

They also proposed that the exporters/factories which have labour colonies be allowed to start operation in the first phase and then in phases the others industries be allowed to work. They assured that they would ensure proper social distancing in the labour colonies.

The chief minister assured the industrialists and exporters of consider their proposals purely on merit. “Let me discuss the matter with my cabinet members and other government team members as to how and to which extent their request or proposals can be entertained,” he said. The industrialists and exporters lauded the bold, effective and timely decisions made by the chief minister and they clapped for him in the meeting.Small

 

Traders: The leaders of small traders requested the chief minister that they should be give a loan for payment of salaries to their employees. At this the chief minister asked them to work out the amount of their salaries being paid by them all over Sindh so that their request could be considered.The small traders eulogized the efforts of the chief minister and assured him of their full support. They also requested the chief minister not to extend lockdown from April 14. Shah hinted at easing out the lockdown from April 15 but said it could not be withdrawn in toto.