FPCCI opposes new SOPs by Sindh government

FPCCI opposes new SOPs by Sindh government

KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), the apex trade body of the country, has voiced concerns over the enforcement of new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for COVID-19 prevention by the Sindh government.

In a statement released on Monday, FPCCI President Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo highlighted the challenges faced by businesses and demanded greater collaboration with the business community in the decision-making process.

President Maggo expressed concerns over the impact of the new SOPs on the ease of doing business in the province, stating that FPCCI was receiving numerous complaints regarding the disruption caused by the COVID-19 measures. To address this, he called for FPCCI nominees to be included in Sindh’s COVID task force, emphasizing that they are key stakeholders in the province.

Maggo urged the provincial government to consult with FPCCI before announcing any new SOPs, emphasizing the need for a uniform policy on SOPs and restrictions across all provinces. He argued that a consistent approach would provide clarity and streamline operations for businesses, preventing confusion and ensuring a smoother transition during these challenging times.

The FPCCI president specifically highlighted the adverse effects on the restaurant sector, emphasizing its significant role in employment generation. Maggo urged the government to support the restaurant sector similarly to how it supports the construction industry, as restaurants are major contributors to employment opportunities.

Ather Sultan Chawla, Vice President of FPCCI and Convener of the All Pakistan Restaurants Association (APRA), contested the implication that dine-out activities contributed to the spread of COVID-19. He highlighted that the restaurant industry had taken extensive measures to vaccinate its workforce, with many establishments in Karachi achieving over 90% vaccination rates.

Shaukat Omerson, Patron of APRA, warned that many restaurants in Sindh might have to permanently close their operations unless the government addresses their concerns. Babar Nehal, Chairman of APRA, emphasized the willingness of the restaurant industry to cooperate with the government, calling for the operation of dine-out and dine-in services under strict adherence to SOPs.

Other business leaders also shared their perspectives. Aleem Qureshi, Chairman of the Private Schools Alliance, strongly disagreed with the closure of schools in Sindh, stating that schools worldwide have prioritized reopening. Rizwan Irfan of the Tajir Action Committee urged the Sindh government to address issues arising from new restrictions promptly, and Khawaja Jamal Sethi of the Karachi Tajir Alliance suggested modified market timings to facilitate businesses.

In conclusion, President Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo reiterated FPCCI’s commitment to assisting businesses and the government in resolving disputes amicably through the platform of FPCCI. The statement reflects the call for collaborative efforts between the government and the business community to navigate the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic.