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January 20, 2021

Cabinet briefed on Broadsheet issue: Timely decision averted negative effects of corona lockdown, says PM Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan told the federal cabinet Tuesday Pakistan was the first country to take into account the negative effects of the coronavirus lockdown and make timely decisions, while pandemic in India increased poverty.

He particularly appreciated the timely and transparent initiatives of the National Command Operation Center (NCOC), Ehsaas and the finance ministry team. The cabinet was briefed on the issue of Broadsheet, and the ministerial committee recommendations were presented in the meeting.

The planning minister briefed the cabinet on the impact of coronavirus pandemic on the basis of a recent survey, conducted by the Federal Bureau of Statistics. It said that the income of about 20 million people had almost waned in April; thanks to the wise strategy of the government, the policy of smart lockdown, instead of complete lockdown and decision making in the construction and manufacturing sector, the income of 20 million people was restored.

The minister said due to timely decision of the PM, about 95% of the people, who had lost their jobs, were restored within a few months. Later, the transport department was also opened.

The meeting was informed that during the lockdown, about 80% of the jobs were in construction, 72% in manufacturing and 67% in transport.

The meeting was informed that 47% of the population's savings had been utilised due to the corona while 30% of people had started taking loans. Realising the plight of these people, the PM not only adopted a balanced strategy regarding lockdown but also gave the biggest economic stimulus package in the history of the country.

Similarly, due to timely and transparent distribution of cash grants to the beneficiaries under Ehsaas programme, timely decision on educational institutions and best coordination of the NCOC, not only the situation soon changed but also other countries of the world and international observers praised Pakistan's successful strategy.

The minister said that in November 2020, Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) grew by 14.5%, the highest in the last 12 years. He said that long before the data obtained by the Bureau of Statistics, the PM, realising the vulnerability and vulnerability of the people, made timely decisions which were yielding positive social and economic results.

Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, while presenting a comparative analysis of the negative effects of the corona outbreak on the economies of Pakistan and other countries, said in the last financial year, Pakistan's GDP declined by minus 0.5%, while that of the United States GDP declined by 4.3%, Sri Lanka's GDP at minus 4.6%, Iran's GDP at minus 5%, India's GDP at minus 10.2% and Turkey's GDP at minus 5.2%.

He noted that timely and transparent distribution of cash grants among the beneficiaries under NCOC, the Ministry of Finance and Ehsaas programme in the event of corona, proved extremely promising.

The PM said that as soon as the government took over, tough decisions had to be taken regarding the economy, which affected the life of the common man. “The people supported us and the survey base data from the Bureau of Statistics shows that our strategy for the corona outbreak has not only been successful but has also kept the economy moving. Thankfully, corona cases began to decrease and the burden on hospitals decreased,” he noted.

Imran Khan said the NCOC model was very successful and effective implementation of the strategy was possible with the consultation of all stakeholders.

The cabinet was given briefing on the steps taken in the last six months for civil service reforms. The meeting was informed that over the decades, the civil service reforms had been carried out keeping in view the requirements of the recent times, transparency, efficiency and accountability.

Briefing the cabinet on the amendments to the PPRA [Public Procurement Regulatory Authority] Rules, it was informed that in addition to the detailed interpretation of the rules, the standards, facilitation of public and private sectors and international high standards have been taken into consideration.

Encouraging the steps taken to amend the Civil Service Reforms and PAPRA laws, the PM said that the ministries and divisions should take steps to improve their performance and facilitate ‘Ease of doing business’ in the light of these reforms.

The federal cabinet approved tax exemptions on Eurobonds under the Second Schedule of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, international sukuk transactions issued under the government's medium term notice and profits from panda bonds issued in the Chinese market.

The cabinet approved the appointment of Ali Mehdi as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Pakistan Development Fund Limited (PDFL) under the Public Sector Companies (Corporate Governance) Rules 2013.

The cabinet approved extension for 6 months in the application of Pakistan Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1952 to all levels of employment under the management of Pakistan Petroleum Limited. It approved the awarding of financial awards to the members of the core committee, constituted under the Power Division for their services in saving the country from major financial loss in the light of the investigation into the Rental Power Project.

The cabinet approved the nomination of members of the Karachi Dock Labour Board under the Ministry of Maritime Affairs. The federal cabinet approved the formation of the Board of Directors of the National Transmission and Dispatch Company under the Power Division.

It also approved the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination to enter into a five-year contract directly with NADRA for verification of WGRM data on health facilities. It ratified the decisions taken at the meeting of the Committee on Legal Cases held on January 7, 2021 in the light of some guidelines.

The cabinet ratified the decisions taken in the meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Energy held on January 7, 2021 and January 14, 2021 in the light of some guidelines. It ratified the decisions taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Institutional Reforms held on Dec 31, 2020 in the light of some guidelines.