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March 22, 2020

Govt urged to set up Rs1tr fund to combat corona

Top Story

March 22, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government should immediately establish rupee one trillion fund to combat coronavirus and stimulate the economy. This is a serious situation which requires more than cosmetic moves, flowery speeches and routine assurances, said Shahid Rasheed Butt, Patron in Chief of Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST).

He said that the central bank should also come forward to play a role in saving collapsing economy which was already very fragile.

Shahid Rasheed Butt, who is also former president of the ICCI, said that the offers by World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other international institutions are insufficient while the US pledged to provide one million dollars to fight coronavirus should be refused as it amounts to a joke. He said that federal and provincial governments did not learn any lesson from the crisis in China and continued the blame game, political point-securing and shifting responsibilities which has resulted in a serious problem. The federal and provincial government should have taken steps in time to face the treat but politics preceded over problems as usual.

The business leader said that FBR has estimated a revenue shortfall of Rs100 billion per month which indicates a steep fall in production that will leave millions jobless while damaging GDP.

He said that textile exporters have reported around 50 percent cancellation in export orders which should be taken seriously.

The business leader said that different countries are taking steps like nationalising or gaining temporary control of health facilities and the pharmaceutical industry, the establishment of new hospitals and converting hotels, hostels, community centres and expo centres into hospitals, unemployed daily wagers are being supported, electricity and other bills have been waived or reduced.

Many countries have enhanced price control and they are providing help to masses without engaging in useless lip service but here lack of meaningful steps is being felt.