KARACHI: President Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Yakoob H Karim has warned that too many holidays on Eids and other occasions is having a killing affect on the economy.
While criticising the government’s unwise and anti-economy decision to announce five days holidays on Eidul Fitr, he said that holidays on Monday and Tuesday is a sheer wasteful and unjustified. “We would remain disconnected with the outer world for almost a week which is not affordable to the export-oriented industry”, Yakoob said adding that 5-day closure (Friday to Tuesday) would cost the country at least $360 million.
He demanded the decision makers to devise a national policy about holidays, criticising the five-day closure, especially of the banking sector he believed that this happened because Pakistan tried to copy Saudi Arabia in these matters, ignoring that it is a rich country.
“I think the policy decision is that we have to keep the begging bowl close to us all the time in future,” he said.
Members of business community belonging to the diversified sectors have termed the long holidays as a “politically motivated decision”.
The impact of banks being inoperative for five days has not only been felt by the traditional exporters but also by the importers in the oil and gas sector.“ This trend of long holidays was initiated by the previous government. It is damaging businesses across the board.
He said such long holidays made people less productive. “Saturday is a working day at many places but people will prefer to take another day off. And those who come would not be working to the full.” The most serious impact of banks not functioning for almost a week leads to delays in the opening of L/Cs, their encashment, making payments, etc.
“This is not only bad for businesses but terrible for the country’s image, too,” Yakoob said. The international players are getting the impression that we are sleeping all the time. The business leader said that the decision makers routinely talk of making Pakistan like China and others fast-progressing economies, but some banks in China operate 24 hours, only to facilitate the trading partners in other time zone like Europe and the Americas. The impact of banking sector shutdown has not only been felt by those involved in international trade but those limited to local businesses besides a common man are also bearing the brunt of the closure. The banks’ ATM system too is seriously impaired and causing immense problems for the consumers as their cash dried up even first day of closure.