The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Association Front chairman Mian Nauman Kabir has warned the government that closure of marriage halls and restaurants will hit the economy hard, as they are creating millions of jobs in the country. While talking to a delegation of the restaurants and banquet halls association’s members, he said that marriage halls and restaurants industry are also one of the essential food sectors and their closure will damage the overall economy of the country. The PIAF is ready to join hands with the government and defeat the second wave of coronavirus while strictly observing SOPs that primarily requires wearing face masks at public places, as we don’t want to lead people to death due to hunger, while saving them from coronavirus as per the vision of the PM. We should understand that the country’s economy is now on a positive path of progress, as the first wave of coronavirus could have devastated Pakistan’s economy but the nation’s support helped it come out of the crisis, he said, adding that the world is still mired in worse economic situations coupled with increasing Covid-19 deaths. He appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision not to shut down factories and businesses despite a spike in coronavirus infections. The food industry contributes largely to the GDP, and its closure would directly affect 50-60 allied industries. Mian Nauman Kabir said that the marriage halls and restaurants were adversely impacted by the lockdown and the consequent economic slowdown. He said that banquet halls industry has suffered a lot due to the previous lockdown and now they should be allowed to work with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and government should facilitate it. PIAF Vice Chairman Javed Siddiqi said the country’s exports were now increasing due to government’s sustained economic policies, which had helped Pakistan overcome its fiscal deficit and current account deficit from $20 billion trade gap of almost two years back. “PIAF applauds the government achievement that for the first time in 17 years, Pakistan showed current account deficit in surplus, and this situation might reverse if the food sector, which is majorly run by the restaurants and marriage halls is closed,” he warned. Javed Siddiqi said that like other parts of the world, Pakistan was also hit by the second wave of Covid-19, but the country should not opt for a complete lockdown. He said Pakistan should only shut non-essential sectors as par the vision of the PM to save its poor people as well as economy from the severe consequences. With the high level of poverty and the lessons learnt from the first wave of Covid-19, we cannot afford the lockdown of businesses and factories, where people are employed.