Goods transporters’ strike bleeds Sindh economy | Pakistan Today

Goods transporters’ strike bleeds Sindh economy

– Rates of fines for traffic violations have also been raised to an unaffordable level

KARACHI: Transporters for goods continued their strike for the seventh day here on Sunday against increasing fines and taxes being slapped on their vehicles on motorways and highways.

Due to the strike, industrialists and businessmen are facing immense difficulties in transporting goods to their business destinations whereas the national economy is also taking a hit as the strike has now also hit Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and other parts of the country.

Despite detailed negotiations of the transporters’ union with Sindh governor, there was no breakthrough in the talks.

Cargo supplies from Karachi to other parts of the country also remained suspended. The transporters said that they had decided to halt the cargo supplies until a solution to their issues is presented.

The federal government has recently approved revised rates of fines over traffic violations on highways.  After transporters decision to continue their strike, cargo vehicles have been parked at roads resulting in a suspension of transport of consignments from the Port Qasim and Karachi Port as well as supplies of vegetables, fruits and medicines to various parts of the country.

It may be noted that it is crucial for the federal government to resolve the transporters issues on a priority basis. The fee challan rates have gone up by more than 100 per cent which, according to transport companies, leading to higher costs when the rates of the fines for traffic violations have also been raised to an unaffordable level.

According to an estimate over 300,000 goods transport vehicles run across the country, while over 17,000 cargo vehicles run from Karachi to upcountry daily.

The cargo transportation from factories to ports and other country-wide destinations has come to a halt due to the countrywide strike.

The strike was resulting in scarcity of transport vehicles and containers for the export-oriented industry as the government seems to be less interested to resolve the issue. Karachi handles about 9,827 containers daily at its three container terminals at Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT), Karachi International Container Terminal (KICT) and Pakistan International Container Terminals (PICT). The number of containers is rising day by day.

A new State Bank of Pakistan report says the large-scale manufacturing sector witnessed a decline of 5.9 per cent in Q1-FY20 on YoY basis. This contraction was broad-based, as construction-allied industries, petroleum and automobile industries continued on a downward path. Owing to low unit prices, exports growth remained low. The report further highlighted that the average headline CPI inflation reached 11.5 per cent in Q1-FY20, extending the steep upward trend persistent since the beginning of FY19. Not only this level was double the inflation observed in the same quarter last year, but it was also the highest level of quarterly inflation since Q4- FY12.

“This outcome was attributed to the lagged pass-through of the exchange rate depreciation towards the end of FY19; rationalisation of energy tariffs; and revenue-led fiscal measures taken in the budget 2019-20, which included the imposition of federal excise duty on a number of consumer items, and the ending of the zero-rating regime for export-oriented sectors and of the reduced GST regime on sugar,” the SBP report added.