Monday, January 3, 2011

Small traders threaten countrywide agitation

Small traders threaten countrywide agitation

KARACHI  (January 04, 2011) : Small traders are likely to stage countrywide protests if the government failed to resolve their problems, besides bringing down the soaring inflation and high electricity and gas tariffs.

Speaking at a press conference, on return from a decade of self-exile, Chairman All Pakistan Organisation of Small Traders and Cottage Industries Muhammad Omer Seelia also hinted at initiating legal action against former president Pervez Musharraf and former twice-premier Nawaz Sharif for forcing him to leave the country. He said both government's action was illegal against him, as protecting the small traders' interest was his job and he would always oppose imposition of unfair taxation.

Despite a decade, he said, the country's traders were facing the same nature of issues which he was struggling to resolve and nothing had changed rather poor and businessmen both were confronting issues such as Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST), inflation, unemployment and poor law and order.

He said gas and power outages were frequent in the country bringing the small traders to a permanent decline, adding that the government had to resolve their issues forthwith or else there would be a massive countrywide agitation. Seelia said the country's economy was "mortgaged" at the hands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is dictating the government to increase power and gas tariffs and impose new taxes.

He said the nation's biggest part was still reeling under the absolute poverty, rendering negative implications on the society as suicides rate has surged phenomenally for lack of employment while parents are compelled to sell their children. He said small traders' problems were still unresolved, adding that the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) were not working for the development of small traders.

He stressed the need for setting up a separate chamber for small traders, a platform wherefrom all their issue could be resolved. He added that both FPCCI and KCCI have failed to fulfil their responsibilities. He said "KCCI has been divided on the ethnic lines and has no interest in resolving the small traders' problems. Therefore, there should be separate chamber for small traders," he added.

Omer said the cases of traders' abduction for ransom have increased phenomenally, which had virtually hampered their business growth and created panic in the business community. He demanded of the transporters to take back their decision of fare hike after POL prices increase from January 1 and condemned the government move, saying it would have negative impact on poor and businessmen community. He announced organising a small traders convention in mid January in Karachi.

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