KARACHI: The blocking of roads, especially in the hinterland, by the government to stop the Azadi March of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) caused a suspension of the arrival of industrial raw materials in Karachi on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, speaking to Dawn, fruit and vegetable exporters claimed that problems arose after the containers, which are used as barriers, were confiscated.
Industrialists said they could not afford more political and economic challenges as they were already facing record high interest rates, high production costs due to the massive fall of the rupiah against the dollar and at high freight rates.
On the contrary, Karachi’s industrial community breathed a sigh of relief that Karachi’s production activities and exports were unaffected despite a tense environment in Punjab where law enforcement is trying to hold off the Azadi March led by the head of the PTI Imran Khan. However, Karachi witnessed the closure of one of Numaish Chowrangi’s main thoroughfares, leading to the main MA Jinnah road, as the PTI turned its protests into a ‘sit in’.
Chairman of the Council of Pakistan Textile Association (CAPTA), Zubair Motiwalla, said the arrival of raw materials including yarn, gray cloth, chemicals etc. had been suspended until the evening due to blockage of roads in various parts of Punjab.
However, he said, industries typically hold a stock of locally made raw materials for 15 to 20 days, followed by stocks of imported raw materials for two to three months.
Motiwalla said the tense political situation in the country has so far not hurt industrial activities as the situation remains normal.
“We are very concerned about the current uncertain political conditions which send the wrong signal to overseas buyers who may suspend future orders in the event of uncertainty,” the CAPTA chief said.
Pakistan Fashion Apparel Forum Chairman Jawed Bilwani said factory production in Korangi and site areas remained normal, but exporters were facing problems in securing delivery of yarn from Punjab.
“Azadi march in Punjab and road blockage in Numaish, Karachi has so far not affected any industrial production,” he claimed.
Chief Patron of the Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Dealers Association of Pakistan, Waheed Ahmed claimed that the lifting of containers by the authorities to stop the long march of the PTI had affected mango and potato exports .
He said containers and trawlers loaded with fruit destined for the port were stopped to block roads, while large numbers of empty containers were also held up.
Mr Ahmed was worried that overseas buyers would cancel their orders due to shipping delays and that their orders would be diverted to India.
He urged the government to release the containers and trailers to avoid any loss of currency.
According to President Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market, New Sabzi Mandi, Super Highway, Haji Shahjehan, the hub of wholesale fruit and vegetable, experienced no supply constraints on Wednesday, with goods arriving from all over the country .
He said there could be problems with the arrival of potatoes from Punjab in the coming days as the wholesale market had sufficient stocks. Also, there is no bottleneck in the arrival of onions and tomatoes from Balochistan regions.
Anis Majeed, boss of the Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Association (KWGA), said the wholesale food essentials market was unaffected on Wednesday. “If the political upheaval continues, the market will definitely feel its negative impact due to supply chain disruption,” he feared.
He said rice and pulses have arrived from Punjab. The supply of some varieties of pulses from the interior of Sindh has so far remained normal. He said wholesalers typically hold stock for three to four days, while some inland items arrive almost daily, he said.
“The political drama between the government and the PTI is not good for the economy of the country. They should sit down and solve the problems in the general interest of the country,” he urged.
Posted in Dawn, May 26, 2022