LAHORE-The Pakistan Poultry Association has hailed the federal government decision to lift Covid-19 related restrictions on tourism industry including hotels and restaurants, urging the authorities to also allow reopening of marriage halls at the earliest, as they consume more than 50% of poultry.

In a statement issued here on Friday, PPA (NZ) Chairman Ch Fargham said that coronavirus lockdowns, which led to the closure of marriage halls and restaurants across the country, have further dented the already struggling poultry industry.

“The PPA welcomes the announcement of Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar regarding the reopening of restaurants and hotels from 10th August. We also request the government to grant permission to marriage halls to open on the same date of 10th August under the same Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),” he demanded.

He said that Punjab government has already advised to the federal government to reopen restaurants, marriage halls and other sectors.

He said that the number of virus-positive cases had dropped to two percent of total tests being conducted in Punjab, which is a good news. 

Ch Fargham observed that countrywide lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic was officially lifted for a long times, as markets and almost every business were allowed to reopen except restaurants, which is not fair.

The PPA leader said that every business took the hit during the lock down period while poultry sector also incurred heavy losses, as the industry employs hundreds of thousands of workers across the province.

He stated the marriage halls and restaurant industry has been very badly hit by COVID-19 and non-operational since March 20th, 2020. This pandemic has caused many restaurants to close down permanently while others are near to bankruptcy.

He said that the Punjab cabinet committee had several times sent its recommendations to the federal government for its final approval from the National Coordination Committee (NCC) but the decision was delayed.

The poultry industry and restaurants owners were constantly taking up the issue of reopening of restaurants and marriage halls with the authorities, as they also wrote to the chief minister as well as the prime minister, asking them to kindly look after this industry, which is in a bad condition. He demanded that marriage halls and marquees should also be allowed to reopen and operate, duly following the SOPs as approved by government.

He said that during the closure period poultry industry has incurred operational expenditure without any revenue from their own resources including payroll, salaries, utility bills, rentals etc.

We want the government to give a relief package to broiler poultry farmers, and also announce interest-free and concessional loans schemes with easy terms to help the poultry industry survive this tough period,” he added.A