‘Govt exercising three-pronged strategy to contain coronavirus’

Hafeez Shaikh says govt is ensuring the provision of food and healthcare at affordable rates, besides assisting business community to run their businesses

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Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Monday that the government was working on a three-pronged strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, as it was ensuring the provision of healthcare and food at affordable rates besides assisting the business community to run their businesses.

He was chairing a meeting with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and the business community from Karachi through a video-link conference, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance.

The adviser said the government was faced with a challenging situation with the prime objectives of how to contain the virus, provide healthcare facilities and essential food items at affordable rates to the common man, and how to provide help and assistance to the business community to run their businesses without a permanent setback to the economy.

In this regard, the government was seeking proposals and had been working on them, Shaikh said, adding, “We will soon give a plan that is simple and implementable to meet our objectives.”

“Have faith that the government is there to support you,” the adviser told the businessmen and asked them to look after the daily wagers and workers who were outside the registered regime as helping them was also a social responsibility.

Speaking on the occasion, the businessmen, including representatives from the textile sector, pharmaceutical industry, Pakistan Stock Exchange and tourism & hotel industry, gave proposals regarding the issues they had been facing and the assistance they required from the government during the ongoing crisis.

The traders requested that they should be enabled to look after their daily wagers in the next two to three months and be provided with an assistance to carry out their businesses with an improvement in their liquidity position.

The finance secretary informed the meeting that the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) had given a proposal and mechanism to the Sindh government to help ensure trading at the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

“The food industry would remain open and continue business as usual and wherever needed, the federal government would have a dialogue with the provincial government to facilitate the business and trader community,” he maintained.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said the government had prepared food bags with the help of the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) for the needy, which would soon be distributed.

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