ISLAMABAD-The traders, in a meeting at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), have shown great concerns against the COVID-19 (Prevention of Hoarding) Ordinance 2020 and called upon the government to address their all reservations before enforcing the said ordinance in the federal capital.

Chairing the meeting, Muhammad Ahmed Waheed, president Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that many things in the Prevention of Hoarding Ordinance were not clear due to which there was a great confusion in the traders. He demanded of the government to address all concerns of the traders against the said ordinance before its implementation in order to save the business activities from further problems. He said that due to Covid-19 issue, people including business community were already in trouble and in these circumstances, introducing a new ordinance only for Islamabad was not a good move. He raised the question whether the traders of Islamabad only were the hoarders keeping in view the fact that the federal capital was not a business city. He urged that government in consultation with local traders should bring necessary amendments in the ordinance to save them from further difficulties.

Zafar Bakhtawari, Ajmal Baloch, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, Khalid Chaudhry, Sheikh Owais, Ch. Tahir, Najeebullah, Muhammad Kaleemullah, Muhammad Yahya, Muhammad Younas, Zaheer Iqbal Khan and others were in the meeting.

Ajmal Baloch, president All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran, said that bureaucracy has introduced a new ordinance against hoarding only for Islamabad and that too was done without any consultation with trading community. He said that ordinance stipulated 3 years imprisonment for keeping stock, but no clear definition of stock was provided due to which trading community have lot of concerns against this ordinance. He said that every trader has to keep stock for supply and without defining the nature of stocks, traders would not be able to conduct business in the presence of this ordinance. He warned that if this ordinance was used to harass traders, strong protest would be launched and government would be responsible for any law and order situation. He appealed to Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Planning, and Ali Nawaz Awan MNA from Islamabad to intervene and remove the reservations of traders against this ordinance.

Zafar Bakhtawari, former Vice President FPCCI, said that Prevention of Hoarding Ordinance 2020 reflected the mindset of bureaucracy against the business community and was not based on good intentions. He was afraid that if the ordinance was used to control prices, it would create shortage of daily use items for the general public due to which they would face more difficulties.

He said every seller has to keep stock of 30 days in store to meet the needs of daily sale, but this ordinance contained no definition of stock due to which there was great confusion in trading community. He called upon the MNAs from Islamabad Asad Umar and Ali Nawaz Awan to hold a meeting with traders and address their concerns about the ordinance before its enforcement in Islamabad.