KARACHI: The business community has demanded the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) of extending refinance scheme, which was introduced to prevent layoff owing to coronavirus outbreak, for further three months.
The Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in a statement on Tuesday urged the central bank to consider extension in refinance scheme to support employees and prevent layoff of workers due outbreak of coronavirus, by December 31, 2020.
Mian Anjum Nisar, President FPCCI while appreciating the initiative of SBP for introducing Refinance Scheme, which had helped many industrial and service oriented sectors to retain employees during Corona pandemic, stated that since the companies that availed this credit facility through banks have not been recovered from devastating economic impact of covid-19, it would be advisable if Ministry of Finance keep shouldering with SBP and extend this Scheme till end of the year.
“In many of the countries, the second wave of Corona Virus has already started, Pakistan not being the case of exception, should be prepared to take proactive precautionary in view of increase in corona patients from 4500 in August to more than 1000 in September.
“Therefore, discontinuation of this facility on September 30, 2020, would not serve the purposes,” added President FPCCI.
Nisar further added that before discontinuing credit facility on concessional markup rate, Ministry of Finance and SBP need to review the prevailing economic situation closely as such the small and medium sized businesses have not been able to regain pre-corona economic stability. Further, processing of documentation and furnishing of employees’ data to avail credit facility was also a time consuming activity.
Therefore, withdrawal of this facility at this stage would neither be in the interest of private sector nor in the interest of the Government that aimed at controlling unemployment situation in the country.
Under the SBP’s Refinance Scheme to Support Employment and Prevent Layoff of Workers due to the impact of COVID-19, businesses that commit to not lay off workers in the next three months can avail credit through banks for the three months of wages and salaries expenses at a concessional markup rate.