KARACHI: Business leaders have warned federal and provincial governments to act quickly to protect business continuity, job creation and revenue collection to be protected following extreme flooding that caused billions of dollars of damage to the economy.

“Initial estimates suggest that R2 trillion or $9-10 billion is needed within 10 months to rebuild infrastructure, protect SMEs and keep economic and business activities afloat,” said Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Pakistan. (FPCCI) in a press release.

He also called on the international community, development finance institutions, friendly countries and major economies of the world to come forward and pool financial, technical and human resources to help rebuild a third of Pakistan damaged by the floods. “The country’s population of 220 million contributes less than 1% of total global carbon emissions, yet they have suffered the most in the world from the catastrophic effects of global warming,” Sheikh said.

He pointed to the fact that at least 8.33 percent less locally produced edible crops would be available this year, which would significantly worsen the already existing food shortages in the country.

This, in turn, would put further pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves (FER) as there would be no choice but to fill the gap in food supplies from imports, he said.

The President of the FPCCI proposed that the government negotiate the restructuring of external debts with the IMF, the World Bank, the AfDB, the IDB, the Paris Club and friendly countries in order to create fiscal space for relief activities and reconstruction after the floods. He also urged authorities to immediately begin a detailed damage assessment in every district, tehsil and village.

“The government should also organize multilateral and bilateral donor conferences and share assessment results in a professional and transparent manner to raise donations from the international community.”

Sheikh also called on the government to waive electricity bills for flood-affected businesses for 3 months to enable them to continue operating and keep their workforce employed.

“Natural rainwater passages and canals should be restored to their natural form before the monsoon season next year, while a comprehensive plan for the rehabilitation of internally displaced people should be put in place with a deadline. of 6 months as well as the regular supply of food. and medical supplies throughout the interim period,” the FPCCI chief concluded.