During his visit to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar announced a relief package of Rs. 5 billion for traders affected by the fire incident at Hafeez Center Lahore.
He added that the government in collaboration with Punjab Bank will provide soft loans to 207 victims to help them recover and resume their business activities, Rs. 1.6 billion in the form of subsidy on loan markups will be provided. The bank is already providing loans at a 3% mark-up.
Punjab Bank has already started offering these loans to victims at a camp office in the IT tower. The victims will be provided with loans for shop purchases, renovation, construction, and purchasing of supplies.
Hafeez Center has temporarily been sealed for further inspection of the safety of the building, and many traders who previously worked there have shifted their businesses to nearby centers. Many traders are adamant to move back to Hafeez Center once the building is safe and open for business.
According to sources, the rents of the nearby shopping plazas and centers have skyrocketed since the fire incident at Hafeez Center. Many traders have voiced their displeasure on the local administration’s decision to seal Hafeez center as they have not been able to resume their business, traders that have moved to nearby plazas are also willing to move back to Hafeez Center.
It is being reported that the government’s initiative to provide the relief package will take some time to come to fruition.