Covid helped identify areas to replace humans with technology: Hashim

LAHORE: Pakistan’s performance battling the Covid-19 epidemic remained much better than other countries as it not only demonstrated a better strategy in the field of health but economic indicators have also been better than other countries.

Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht said this while addressing the fourth edition of Pakistan Leadership Conversation (PLC 2022) centred on the theme “Rethinking our world: Sustainable growth for Pakistan” organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accounts (ACCA).

Hashim said that the smart lockdown policy proved effective in controlling the spread of the epidemic. There has also been a relative decline in mortality due to the proportion of patients in hospitals and the proportion of epidemic protection facilities.

He said that Ehsaas programme facilitated the working class while the businesses class took advantage of the special measures of the State Bank of Pakistan. He observed that the credit of the revival of business and economy to keep afloat goes to the current government.

Hashim said that Covid-19 provides great learning experiences for the government as well as the private sector alongside many losses. The Covid-19 provided an opportunity to the government to use technology as flaws of the human resource system were exposed during the pandemic. The healthcare system has improved while small works flourished. The government for the first time has taken concrete steps to grow the business, he added.

He said that a relief package of Rs56 billion was introduced in Punjab. The tax rate on more than 20 services was reduced from 16 percent to 5 percent while special discounts were given to construction services. He mentioned that a sustainable model of emergency investment was developed for the preparation of the budget in view of Covid-19 and Covid-centric budget.

The finance minister disclosed that the government also got an opportunity to know what kind of human resources are required to improve the performance of different institutions while working with one-third of the Punjab Workforce during Covid-19. Further, the areas were identified where with the shortage of human resources and the shortage was managed with the use of technology.

Hashim said that the Punjab government three years ago introduced a mobile application called E-pay for tax collection for the convenience of common man which was very successful as Rs70 billion have been collected so far through the application. He observed that use of E-pay type applications improved governance of the government.

He further said that in the model of sustainable development, economic growth depends on increasing exports in which technology is of key importance. He also announced the establishment of federal-style special technology zones in Punjab during the leadership conversation.

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