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July 31, 2020

CM Mahmood Khan launches 3-year economic recovery plan


July 31, 2020

PESHAWAR: In a bid to overcome the socio-economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has formally launched a three-year economic recovery plan “Azm-e-Nau” (The Spirit of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) here on Thursday.

The plan will be implemented with the total cost of Rs29 billion through 43 interventions in 9 key development sectors, which included: economic growth, education, emergency response, health, organizing geographically spread and reachable jobs for development, public works, small & medium enterprises and social protection.

The chief minister termed the economic recovery plan a continuation of the efforts to stabilise the economy affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and said that he would himself monitor the implementation of the plan.

An event in this regard was held with a limited number of participants due to Covid-19 precautionary measures at Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Peshawar and was attended by Provincial Minister for Finance Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Special Assistant to CM on Information Kamran Bangash, Special Assistant to CM on PHE Riaz Khan, Additional Chief Secretary Shakeel Qadir, administrative secretaries of concerned departments and high ups of planning & development department. Representatives from international development partners also participated through a video link. The participants were briefed about the impacts of Covid-19 on economy in South Asia, anticipated impacts on vulnerable employments, objectives and salient features of the plan “Azm-e-Nau”, augmented implementation mechanism, roles and responsibilities for the plan and other related matters.

It was informed that apart from dealing with the short-term aspects of crisis management, “Azm-e-Nau” economic recovery plan has been prepared to avert the economic fallout caused by the corona pandemic through the implementation of public sector interventions in expeditious manners.

In his closing remarks, the chief minister said the provincial government had taken unprecedented steps to contain the spread of Covid-19 as well as to address the issues faced by the people due to current situation of pandemic.

“Launch of Azm-e-Nau plan is also a continuation of these efforts and that will prove to be a milestone in strengthening of healthcare system, compensating the economic losses incurred during the prevailing situation of coronavirus and to mitigate overall adverse effects of pandemic on provincial economy, reinforce stimuli and short to medium term liquidity for the revival of businesses grappling with the supply side shock,” he added. The chief minister lauded the efforts of his team at Planning & Development Department for the preparation of economic recovery plan in a short time frame.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has ordered a complete ban on the use of polythene bags across the province and directed all district administrations to strictly implement the decision. He added that there is no room for further relaxation or concession in this regard. He also called upon the agencies concerned to be active round the clock for cleanliness, especially during Eidul Azha days and celebrate Eid with simplicity to avoid the possible dangers of the spread of corona epidemic.

“We have been quite successful in curbing the spread of the corona pandemic through effective measures and public support, but we cannot afford to be negligent at this point,” he said while addressing a meeting of the provincial cabinet at Civil Secretariat in Peshawar.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, provincial advisors, special assistants, chief secretary and administrative secretaries. The meeting included 6 agenda items and 12 additional agenda items for thorough debate. The chief minister specifically directed the elected public representatives to show simplicity during Eid and refrain from sitting in their Hujras so that the crowds do not gather.

Mahmood Khan directed to re-open the Revenue Court to focus on public welfare activities largely affected by the corona pandemic, especially to address the issues facing the people related to financial matters and ensuring strict implementation of the government-issued SOPs.

He said that at least one additional secretary-level officer from all the provincial departments should be present in the assembly session along with the required information. Mahmood Khan also directed for an independent and transparent inquiry into the incident of the blindness of diabetics at Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad and said that the provincial government would provide relief to the affected people. Briefing the media after the meeting, CM’s Special Assistant for Information and Local Government Kamran Bangash said that in the light of the special directive of chief minister, a strategy was formulated to celebrate Eidul Azha with utmost simplicity.

“Markets have been set up at 199 designated places to protect against the coronavirus. Children and people over the age of 50 are barred from entering these areas. Also, regular arrangements have also been made for social outings at Eid venues,” he added.

He also discussed various plans being implemented in terms of security and cleanliness in Eid days, tourism, locust control and fisheries and other matters.