Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President of Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW), on Thursday, appreciated the decision of the federal government to close markets by 8 p.m. The move will save billions of dollars and improve the habits of consumers, he said. “Implementation of the directive is linked with cooperation from the provinces; therefore, the provincial government should also react responsibly,” he added.
Even in rich countries, markets open at 9 a.m. or earlier and close at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., while many developed countries also observe the closure of shops on Sundays and, in most cases, on Saturday as well, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President of PEW.
In a statement issued here today, he said there are no fixed timings for markets opening and closing in Pakistan, which is draining the country’s resources when it is on the brink of default.
“Our country cannot afford to keep shops open for 14 to 15 hours for the additional profits of shopkeepers who would never pay their employees according to the minimum wage announced by the government,” he observed.
He said that consumers’ shopping habits must be changed through strict administrative measures, as in many cities, sales start after sunset and continue till midnight.
Every citizen can get what they want from shops even if market timings are shortened, as is being practised worldwide, bringing shopkeepers into discipline requires political will.
Shopkeepers have always resisted efforts to bring them into discipline, document their business, or pay taxes, but now the time has come to bring all the shopkeepers into the tax net as the country’s survival is at stake.