Pakistan economic slowdown: Industrial activities contract by 40% pc amid security measures for Iranian President's visit

Business Thursday 25/April/2024 09:31 AM
Pakistan economic slowdown: Industrial activities contract by 40% pc amid security measures for Iranian President's visit

Karachi: Industrial activities in Pakistan witnessed a significant slowdown, with reports indicating a contraction of up to 40 per cent amid heightened security measures in the wake of Iranian President Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi's visit to Karachi, Dawn reported.

Despite a local holiday declared in the city's economic hub, several export-oriented industries resumed operations on Tuesday, albeit facing challenges.

A notable factor hindering production and export targets was the shortage of labour, exacerbated by disruptions in cargo movement triggered by road blockades aimed at ensuring the visiting dignitary's security. The closure of key arteries such as MA Jinnah Road and Shahra-e-Faisal led to extensive traffic congestion, impending both the commute of workers and the flow of goods, as reported by Dawn.

In response to the holiday notice issued by the Sindh Labour Department, many exporters endeavoured to sustain production to meet the deadlines set by foreign buyers. However, the afternoon closure of Shahrah-e-Faisal exacerbated the situation, resulting in a significant workforce exodus, thereby affecting second-shift operations.

Reflecting on the impact, an industrialist from the Korangi industrial area lamented that the road blockades had constrained production and export shipments to a mere 40 percent of their usual capacity. Similarly, Jawed Bilwani, Chief Coordinator of the Value Added Textile Forum, highlighted that more than half of the units in the Site area and other industrial zones remained closed, leading to a 60 percent decline in production and export volumes.

The repercussions extended beyond Karachi, with Lahore witnessing a similar scenario due to security measures adopted for the visiting dignitary. With Lahore contributing 20 percent to the country's total exports, the closure of main thoroughfares exacerbated the challenges faced by traders and labourers, further dampening economic activities.

Faisal Anis Majeed, a prominent commodity importer/exporter, noted that the closure of M.A. Jinnah Road and Shahra-e-Faisal resulted in only 15-20 percent of shops operating in Dandia Bazaar, as traders and labourers struggled to navigate through the ensuing traffic gridlocks.

While extending a warm welcome to President Raisi's visit, Johar Qandhari, President of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), expressed optimism about the potential for enhanced trade and bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran. He emphasised the need for concerted efforts to capitalise on untapped trade opportunities and foster economic cooperation between the two nations, Dawn reported. (ANI)