Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said since the country was facing unprecedented situation, the government would take every measure to provide relief to masses and all sectors of economy in this hour of trial.
He was presiding over a high level meeting held here to review the steps being taken, in the wake of Coronavirus challenge, in different sectors including trade and industry, construction, energy, particularly the relief measures for poverty-stricken segment of society.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, Minister for Energy Omar Ayub, Minister for National Food Security Makhdoom Khusru Bakhtiar, Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant on Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar and Special Assistant on Energy Nadeem Babar.
Governor State Bank Reza Baqir and other concerned secretaries also attended the meeting through video link.The prime minister said with the country also facing the challenge of poverty alongside Coronavirus, the government institutions were required to play a more proactive role in this challenging situation.He said the government would utilize all resources to provide relief to the poor and weaker segments of society, adding, in that respect Overseas Pakistanis and philanthropists within the country were a ray of hope for them.
The prime minister said the Overseas Pakistanis as well as the patriotic people from home always proved in the testing times that they as a nation had the capability to face any difficult situation.He directed the Minister for National Food Security to give special attention to the availability of essential commodities across the country and ensure that there was no shortage of basic food items including flour, pulses, rice, ghee, sugar etc. in any part of the country.
The prime minister in this respect also directed to form a special committee comprising officials from relevant federal and provincial departs, which review the food situation on daily basis and present recommendations.
Special Assistant on Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar briefed the prime minister in detail over the steps taken to provide relief to the vulnerable segment of society in view of the recent situation. The prime minister would soon make an announcement in this regard.The meeting also took stock of the measures taken for the industrial activities in the country.
The advisor on commerce apprised that under the prime minister’s direction the owners of all huge industrial units had been asked to ensure release of salaries to their employees.Similar steps for the security of employees working in the small and medium units were also being given the final shape with mutual consultation.
With regard to the construction sector, the meeting also discussed in details the government’s incentives and measures.The Governor State Bank also briefed the prime minister about establishment of corona relief fund and the mechanism for the inclusion of overseas Pakistanis and the local rich philanthropists.The participants also deliberated upon the mechanism for encouraging the nationals residing in the country and abroad to support the national economy in this difficult situation.
The prime minister directed the Governor State Bank to submit till Tuesday all the relevant details about this process after holding mutual consultations with all the concerned departments.The meeting was also briefed about the steps taken in the energy sector for securing the national and public interests, especially with regard to the current situation.
The meeting while considering the wheat crop harvesting season, also decided that steps should be finalized for facilitating the movement of people associated with the wheat reaping activity.It was also decided to furnish a list of all those industries where the government could provide necessary incentives in order to keep the wheel of economy moving by ensuring the industrial activities to be least affected by the current situation.
Minister for Economic Affairs apprised the meeting that considering the current situation, so far 93 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had been permitted to work for a period of six months whereas applications of 53 others had been under consideration which would be decided soon.
The decision was taken so that the international NGOs should not feel any hindrance in carrying out welfare activities in these hard times.
The prime minister directed the ministries of food security, industry and commerce, economic affairs and finance to establish a think tank comprising experts from their ranks who would assess the situation on daily basis and submit recommendations with regard to taking the essential steps.