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July 16, 2020

Rs70bln COVID response programme launched to revive economy

Business

July 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of planning launched COVID-19 response program worth Rs70 billion to upgrade health system and bring economy back on growth trajectory after the lockdown, deputy chairman Planning Commission said on Wednesday.

Jehanzeb Khan said the project would be implemented in partnership with provincial and local agencies to respond and reduce the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and contribute in restoring normal life after lockdown and putting back economy on growth trajectory.

“COVID-19 pandemic has made us realize the need to renovate health facilities across the country. The projects have to be prepared urgently in order to meet the challenges faced by the present crisis,” Khan said.

Planning Commission deputy chairman was chairing a meeting to discuss the project, “COVID-19 responsive and other natural calamities control program” worth Rs70 billion. Secretary Planning Mathar Niaz Rana, members of the Planning Commission, and other officials were also present.

The lockdown was partially eased across the country after bringing social and economic lives to sudden halt since late March.

The difference in communication from the central and provincial governments made public and businesses confused and uncertain about the future. So much so Prime Minister Imran Khan once said the decision to impose lockdown in the country to combat the coronavirus pandemic was taken by the elite without thinking of the poor. He talked of striking a balance between the lockdown to save people from falling prey to the virus and ensuring that the poor and the needy did not face hunger.

Deputy chairman Planning Commission said to mitigate COVID-19 impact, Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives has launched a special program with an outlay of Rs.70 billion having special focus on public health surveillance and disease detection, up-gradation of DHQs/ THQs Hospitals, provision of quarantine and testing facilities at ports, clean drinking water, solid waste management, and improving local infrastructure.

Khan advised the officials to be vigilant for any duplication of the projects. He said there is need of strong national team with dedicated people with requisite qualifications and experience to address the challenges.

The block allocation of Rs70 billion earmarked in the public sector development program 2020/21 for COVID-19 responsive and other natural calamities control program would be utilised through projects prepared by federal and provincial governments.

The provincial government would share 50 percent of the project cost, which would increase the outlay to worth Rs140 billion. This is an excellent collaboration between federal government and provinces to upgrade health system and revive local economy.