COVID-19: PM Imran urges expats, local philanthropists to bolster govt’s efforts | Pakistan Today

COVID-19: PM Imran urges expats, local philanthropists to bolster govt’s efforts

–PM says govt will utilise all resources to provide relief to the poor, support economy

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday reiterated his appeal to overseas Pakistanis and philanthropists to bolster the government’s efforts to provide relief to the masses and the economy as the coronavirus continues to take a toll on the country.

The PM was presiding over a meeting to review the steps being taken in the wake of the 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, Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser 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 the government would utilise all resources to provide relief to the poor and weaker segments of society, adding that overseas Pakistanis and philanthropists within the country were a ray of hope for them.

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 also directed to form a special committee comprising officials from relevant federal and provincial departments to review the food situation on daily basis and present recommendations.

The meeting also took stock of the measures taken for the industrial activities in the country.

The adviser on commerce informed the meeting that 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 State Bank governor briefed the prime minister about the establishment of the corona relief fund and the mechanism for the inclusion of overseas Pakistanis and the local 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 SBP governor 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 minister for economic affairs apprised the meeting that considering the current situation, 93 international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had been permitted to work for a period of six months whereas applications of 53 others are under consideration. The decision was taken so that the international NGOs should not feel any hindrance in carrying out welfare activities in these hard times.