ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar said on Tuesday that the federal government, in consultation with all the provinces, has made comprehensive arrangements to ensure sufficient production and supply of all essential items by keeping the relevant industries open and operational.
Addressing a press conference along with Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Asad Umar and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, the minister said that since the country was in a lockdown, there was a dire need to ensure production and supply of daily use essential items across the country to facilitate people.
“We have been engaged in meetings for the last four days with chief secretaries and officials of all four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Islamabad through video conference and we have made certain decisions with mutual consultations,” the minister said.
He said that the list of necessary manufacturers, industry, retailers and services had been prepared in consultation with the provinces, adding, that the provincial governments had the right to increase or decrease the list according to their requirements.
He said that all the provinces and federation were on same page in determining the essential industries needed to be kept in operation in this lockdown situation, adding that industries that were providing raw materials and inputs to these industries would also be kept open.
In addition to this, he said, the government would also ensure transportation of labour forces to these industries.
The minister said that the list of the selected industries would be made public on Wednesday after the meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC). He, however, stressed the need for level-playing among these industries in all the four provinces to ensure smooth functioning of supply chain.
He also said that some labourers were facing problems in going to their workplaces in Sindh but the provincial government was working on overcoming these shortcomings.
He said that the exporters were also facing some issues at ports, which would also be sorted out.
While advising the public against panic-buying since there was no shortage of food in the country, the minister said that the economic relief package announced by the government would ensure buying power for low-income people.