KARACHI: Trade associations have initially estimated Rs50 billion of enormous losses in a week after monsoon rainfalls wreaked havoc with the already debilitated infrastructure in the commercial hub of the country.
Traders and markets of the cosmopolitan city have suffered unprecedented losses in August due to heavy rains and flash floods, the associations said on Tuesday.
Weak infrastructure could not sustain the heavy rains, leading to urban flooding, wreaking havoc across the city and hampering almost all business activities in the city for almost a week.
Meanwhile, the provincial government has initiated a loss assessment exercise surveying the markets, and traders are urging the authorities to appoint a relief commissioner and compensate the businessmen.
All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Atiq Mir said around Rs25 billion worth of sales revenue was lost as markets remained closed for seven days, “while initial estimates suggest goods worth Rs25 billion were destroyed due to submerging of markets and warehouses”.
“Markets remained closed since Tuesday last week, and even on Monday 50 percent of markets couldn’t open,” said Mir. “Traders and markets register around Rs4 billion of sales a day, which was not materialised.”
Mir said the old city area was the worst hurt and this part of the city accommodated warehouses, wholesalers and retailers.
“Initial estimates suggest that inventory including medicines, apparatus, furniture, household goods and general consumer goods worth at least Rs25 billion have been destroyed.”
All Pakistan Organization of Small Traders and Cottage Industries President Mehmood Hamid said several markets were still inundated, as the flood water was not being drained out making it difficult for them to reach markets and assess the situation.
“There is no final number as yet, but we believe the inventory losses would run into billions of rupees,” said Hamid. “Goods, machinery and equipment have been destroyed in almost all the markets of the city.”
Rizwan Irfan of Karachi Electronics Dealers Association said the main electronic markets remained safe. However, some shops in the Nursery Area and DHA suffered some losses.
“The old city area was worst hit as markets and warehouses of edibles, cloth and medicines were inundated,” Irfan said.
Sabir Sheikh of Motorcycle Manufacturers Association said the main motorcycle market at Akbar Road also remained safe and there were no major losses.
Industrialists and exporters have already predicted export loss as production units are inundated, laborers can’t reach the work, while there has been no transportation and no electricity.
Due to absence of electricity many industrial units including the ICI Pakistan at West wharf remained closed till Monday.
Last week, Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said export consignments got delayed because of the heavy rains in Karachi. “This will result in lower exports in August,” Dawood said in a tweet.
“It appears that because of the heavy rains, particularly in Karachi, our export consignments are being delayed and hence our exports for the month of August may be affected. Any difficulties faced by the exporters may please be brought to the notice of the ministry of commerce.”
Trade deficit narrowed around 15 percent year-on-year to $1.5 billion in the first month of the current fiscal year of 2020/21 as exports bounced back to the positive territory after four months of slump.