Traders hail approval of chamber of small traders

LAHORE: The unanimous approval of Trade Organization Bill 2012 by the joint meeting of the Senate Standing Committees for Commerce on Wednesday paved the way for the formation of Chambers of Small Traders and Cottage Industry in every district of the country, as the National Assembly has already passed the bill while the Senate will approve it in a couple of days.

The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran, the representative body of small traders in the country, has appreciated the formation of Chambers of Small Traders, saying present chambers are playing no role to facilitate small traders, and protecting the interests of commercial importers and services providers, as most of them are dominated by limited Corporate Class.

APAT central president Mian Mannan, chairman Khawaja Shafiq and central general secretary Naeem Mir, who were also present in the joint meeting of Senate Standing Committees for Commerce held in Islamabad, said in a statement that a few thousand industrialists and big traders with a business turnover of over Rs.50 million had held sway over the chambers of commerce and industry and used small traders for their causes. They said those tycoons ignored the problems of small businessmen.

The leaders of small traders welcomed the government approval of establishing chambers of small traders through Senate Standing Committees as well as the National Assembly and which was backed by the all political parties in parliament.

APAT general secretary Naeem Mir said the bill will be sent to the Senate now and after the signatures of President it will be part of the constitution.

He said that at least 3 million traders will get NT Number for their registration at Chambers of Small Traders, providing a significant benefit to national exchequer. He said that small traders were struggling for the establishment of chambers for the last three decades and had approached political parties having representation in Parliament to convince them about the importance of the proposed chambers.

“All major chambers in the country as well as in the province including are earning revenue of 70 per cent from Associate Class, which represents mostly small traders, but they never raised voice for the cause of this trade class,” he observed. He said that formation of small chambers is a right step in right direction if it is not misused by politicians. After the approval of Small Chambers, traders will get their own platform, losing importance of present chambers.