Millions of jobs lost in Pakistan

Karachi, May 7 : Millions of jobs in formal and informal sectors of the economy across Pakistan have been lost due to a massive decline in industrial production so far this fiscal year, state media reported. The ongoing restrictions on the import of raw materials, the foreign exchange crisis and rising costs caused by surging power and gas bills have severely hampered production activities. In four industrial sectors of Karachi and the countrywide auto vending units, stakeholders claimed that "over 500,000 people have faced joblessness," Dawn reported. However, an official from the Sindh government's Directorate of Manpower Labour Human Resource, who requested anonymity, said that the businessmen are exaggerating the figures. Site Association of Industry (SAI) President Riazuddin said except for the food sector, around 100,000 people out of the 500,000 in the Site area had lost their livelihood in different categories of industries, mainly from October 2022 till date, Dawn reported. He added that industrial activities in the area had dropped by 30-40 oer cent with some industries either closed or suspending their one shift during the current fiscal year. "I think 50 per cent more industries will close down after the withdrawal of the Rs 19.99 power tariff and $9 per mmBtu gas tariff," he feared. Riazuddin said that the federal government's departments, like the Sindh Bureau of Statistics (SBS) and various departments of the Sindh government, have become active since July 2022 in seeking unemployment data from industries. Businessmen are reluctant to provide any job loss data fearing any harassment from these departments, while listed firms might be presenting their workers' data every month. North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry (NKATI) Chairman Faisal Moiz Khan said the area comprises nearly 5,000-6,000 small and medium-sized units, of which 60 per cent are export-oriented, providing working opportunities to five to six million workers. Amid an unfavourable economic situation, around 25 per cent of the industries have shut down their units rendering more than 100,000 contractual employees unemployed while 75 per cent of the industries scaled back their production, he said, Dawn reported. "Nearly 30-50 per cent of the textile Industry in Sindh have partially shut down and their numbers will increase," he added. Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) President, Faraz Ur Rahman said, "Over 50,000 workers have lost their jobs directly and indirectly of which 10,000 are only in pharmaceutical sectors in the Korangi industrial area due to raw material shortage as a result of import restrictions." Senior Vice-President of the Pakistan Association of Auto Parts Accessories (PAAPAM), Usman Aslam Malik, said that the countrywide vending industry has experienced the loss of around 250,000-300,000 direct and indirect jobs due to frequent auto plant shutdowns since August 2022, Dawn reported. /IANS


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