KARACHI: Various industrial estates continued to suffer massive production losses owing to a mourning day observed by the Mutahida Quami Movement (MQM) on Saturday.
All markets and commercial centres also remained completely closed.
Some shopkeepers in commercial centres and markets started opening their shops after 4pm, but traders believed that only 20 to 25 per cent shops opened.
The worst affected were industrial estates of FB Area and North Karachi where worker turnout was low due to lack of public transport which caused massive production losses.FB Area Association of Trade and Industry’s Chairman Masroor Ahmed Alvi claimed that 80 per cent industries, out of over 2,000 units, were closed while only 30 to 40 per cent workers turned up in 20 per cent industries which were open.
North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry chairman Abdul Rasheed Fodderwala said about 80 per cent units, of 2,000 units, remained un-operational. The remaining operating units witnessed 20 to 25 per cent presence which failed to make it operational at full production capacity.
Chairman, SITE Association of Industries, Mohammad Irfan Moton, said that 70 to 75 per cent production was recorded as 50 per cent workforce managed to mark their attendance despite dearth of public transport.
However, he said that Saturday being the last day of the week created problems for many exporters who could not send their shipments to ports.
Chairman, Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), Ehteshamuddin, said less than 50 per cent attendance of workers, mostly living nearby areas, was registered, thus keeping the production between 40 and 50 per cent.
At the opening of industries on Sundays, he said that the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited had already asked the industries to keep their gas lines switched off voluntarily for 12 hours on Sundays.
However, to offset production losses, industrialists would urge the SSGCL to change its plan. He said those industries which do not use gas will run on April 1, 2012.
Ehteshamuddin said that representatives of all industrial estates will shortly meet Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat ul Ibad to discuss the law and order situation and power and gas supply problems being faced by the industrial areas. Karachi Tajir Ittehad president Atiq Mir said that business and commercial centres of the city operated only three days from March 23 to 31.
He estimated “a trade loss of Rs18-20 billion due to closure of business activities for six days from March 23 to 31.”
He said traders have decided to open their shops on Sunday (April 1) depending on law and order situation.
Meanwhile, industry leaders have urged the government to urgently look into frequent strike calls being given by political parties, thereby paralysing industrial activity and exports of the commercial hub of the country.
M Jawed Bilwani, chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF), said that textile exports during first eight months (July-Feb) of current fiscal year suffered losses to the tune of Rs58.548 billion over the corresponding period last year.
He further said that export of almost all value-added textile goods declined during first eight months of current fiscal year with knitwear declining by 11 per cent, bedwear by 10 per cent towel by 5.5 per cent.
Mr Bilwani said during this week political parties paralysed the entire city and its industrial and business activities by making three strike calls. This resulted in huge production loss to industry and missing of shipping schedules for export commitments worth millions of rupees, he added.
A leading textile exporter, Rafique Godial, said that unscheduled power and gas load-shedding is damaging all the three working shifts of the industry and this results in huge production loss.
He was also critical of strike calls. Mr Godial stated that it was unfortunate that existence of government is nowhere and the city’s entire machinery has miserably failed to tackle law and order situation and rising street crimes.
These leaders appealed to the provincial and federal governments as well as political parties to uphold the national interest supreme as frequent shutdowns cause loss to the country.
They stated that rising unemployment was the main cause of rising street crimes.