Traders want govt to consult them on market closures

PESHAWAR: Traders have expressed serious concerns over closure of markets in the name of smart lockdown and demanded of the administration to unseal the bazaars and take the trader leaders of relevant localities on board before making such decisions.

Addressing the foundation day ceremony of Markazi Tanzeem Tajiran Khyber Pakhtunkhwa here on Tuesday, the office-bearers of the organisation said that business activities were already affected owing to the prolonged lockdown during and before the holy month of Ramzan and government again started shutting bazaars in the name of smart lockdown that added to the miseries of traders.

The ceremony was addressed by Sharafat Ali Mubarak, Haji Mohammad Afzal, Malik Abid Hafeez, Javed Akhtar and others. They opposed the smart lockdown for controlling spread of Covid-19.

Threaten to launch protest against smart lockdown

The traders, they claimed, were ready to follow Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) but they could not force the buyers to wear face masks.

They said that in the prevailing situation, the traders were unable to pay utility bills, wages to their workers and rent of shops but government did not extend any financial support to them despite their repeated appeals.

“We have always extended full cooperation to the administration in public interest. We are ready to cooperate but no one bothers to contact the relevant office-bearers for negotiations and decisions are made unilaterally,” said the speakers.

They threatened to start protest demonstrations against the smart lockdown in case any other bazaar was closed. “We cannot afford financial losses any longer,” they said.

The leaders of traders also rejected setting up sales points and asked government to withdraw the condition of CNIC for shopping of up to Rs100,000.

They said such steps would not only harm business activities but also national economy.

The traders also appreciated services of Markazi Tanzeem Tajiran it rendered for welfare of traders across the country and vowed to play active role for resolution of key issues created due to increase in different taxes.

They asked government to expand tax net instead of overburdening taxpayers by imposing new taxes.

They also demanded of prime minister to fulfil his commitment he had made with traders to remove trust deficit between business community and government.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020