KARACHI - Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Younus Muhammad Bashir, while expressing deep concern over rumors of extended number of holidays on the forthcoming occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, has urged the Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to ensure that only two holidays are announced for Eid-ul-Fitr as the business and industrial community and the country cannot afford to suffer further losses due to extended number of holidays.

In a statement, President KCCI said that the business and industrial community of Karachi has suffered grave losses due to long weekends, bank holidays and extended holidays from time to time whereas the suspension of banking services and port operations on Saturdays multiplies the losses not only for the Business and Industrial Community but also for the national exchequer.

Keeping in view the depressed performance of almost all the sectors of the economy particularly Pakistan’s dwindling exports, the government must allow only two holidays for Eid festival, minimize bank holidays and revert the unjust decision of observing two holidays a week which have terribly affected the economy due to closure of ports, banks and other important offices, he added.

President KCCI pointed out that closure of major offices, ports and banks on every Saturday delays the revenue collection process by one day whereas the complete shutdown of ports, terminal operators and customs aggravate the sufferings of exporters owing to cancelation of export orders.

“We are not in a position to sit back in our homes twice a week. I am quite sure that if one more working day a week is added and just one holiday is observed on Sunday, it will not only provide a big sigh of relief to the business and industrial community but the government will also be able to generate additional revenue in shape of collections that will ultimately go in favor of the economy”, Younus Bashir commented.

Referring to long weekends observed across the country on various occasions particularly during Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha, President KCCI asked can anyone imagine the size of losses suffered by the national exchequer during such weeklong closures and what happens to the daily wage earners in such circumstances?

“We cannot afford such prolonged holidays as they result in giving losses of up to billions of rupees to the national exchequer, affect trading activities particularly the exports and deprive the poor daily wage earners from their desperately needed earnings”, he added.

He urged the government to avoid announcing extended holidays for Eid festival and immediately restore six working days a week so that ports, terminals operators and banks stay operational on Saturday which would help in facilitating business transactions, enhance revenue collection and ensure timely shipment of export consignments.