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March 24, 2020

Businesses asked to provide financial aid to daily wagers

Business

March 24, 2020

KARACHI: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh on Monday asked the business community to discharge their social responsibility to look after daily wagers and workers who are outside the registered regime.

“Helping them (daily wagers) is also our social responsibility,” Shaikh said, addressing a video conference with the business community. Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, advisers on commerce, institutional reforms and petroleum were also present during the meeting.

The finance adviser said the government is faced with a challenging situation. “In this challenging situation, the prime objective of the government is to do three things: contain the virus, provide health care facilities, essential food items at affordable rates and help commonman to maintain enough cash in hand, provide help and assistance to the business community to run their businesses during the times of the pandemic without a permanent setback to the economy,” he said.

“For this we are seeking proposals and working on them, we are hoping to give a plan that is simple and implementable to meet our objectives.” Global coronavirus threat was forcing administrations to announce go-slows to ensure social distancing. The lockdown entails adverse impacts for the workforce. Many of them have to move out for earnings in Pakistan. In absence of financial assistance, they would be in dire straits within two to three days of complete isolation.

Businessmen sought the government’s support to help them look after daily wagers for two to three months as economic activities slowed down to prevent spread of coronavirus. Business community said the government should enable them to look after their daily wagers in the next 2-3 months times and be provided with assistance to carry on their business with improvement of their liquidity position.

The businessmen included representatives from the garments and textile sector, pharmaceutical industry, Pakistan Stock Exchange and tourism and hotel industry. The meeting discussed proposals regarding the issues they are facing and the assistance they require from the government in the times of the corona crisis.

Secretary finance said the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan gave proposal and mechanism to home department Sindh to help in running business / trading at stock exchange Karachi.

“The food industry shall remain open and continue business as usual and wherever needed the federal government will have dialogue with the provincial government to facilitate the business and trader community,” a statement said, citing a decision in the meeting. Governor Sindh told the meeting that they had prepared food bags for the needy and that would soon be distributed. He assured of his assistance wherever needed.