ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday promised a massive relief package for the construction industry, to be rolled out on Friday (today), for the promotion of business and maintenance of economic activity in the country in the wake of current coronavirus pandemic.
“We have decided to open up the construction industry and give it the necessary incentives in order to provide job opportunities to the people,” he said while addressing a ceremony marked to refund Rs100 billion taxes among businessmen in Islamabad.
The premier said the relief package would also support uplift of other industries allied with the construction sector.
“The construction of road infrastructure does not entail the danger of the spread of coronavirus,” he said.
“Whichever industry that helps run the construction industry will be given instructions and conditions under which they can operate,” he added.
He maintained that necessary SOPs would be developed to ensure the safety of the workers.
The premier declared that promoting industries and giving incentives to the business community was an important step in taking the country forward.
“The refund of Rs100 billion today is part of that process. It is our utmost effort to ensure timely refunds to the business community so that they do not face any liquidity issue,” he said.
“We have to create an environment that was present in the 1960s,” he added.
PM Imran felicitated the commerce ministry, which framed the distribution policy of the multi-billion rupee package and compiled a list of industries which could operate in the current circumstances.
He pointed out the current trajectory of the escalation of coronavirus cases in the country was relatively slower than that in the western countries.
“I am confident that Pakistan will overcome this crisis,” he said.
He stressed that amid efforts for containing the spread of coronavirus, the government had to create a balance and allow the industries to operate which were essential to provide employment to the poor people.
“Our weaker segments of the society are at a greater risk owing to the pandemic. We are trying to reach out to them under the Ehsaas Programme,” he observed.
“A cash grant of Rs12,000 each will be given to 12 million poor families to protect them from the negative impact of coronavirus,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said the tax refunds would be paid in a week’s time.
He said that apart from the packages for the business community, the government had earmarked Rs200 billion for the procurement of wheat to support the agriculture sector.
Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood said the government stood by the business community and was preparing a Rs200 billion package which would be announced soon.
Separately, chairing a meeting on gas sector reforms, PM Imran said that durable solution to the problems in the gas industry was a priority of his government.
He directed the authorities concerned to ensure provision of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to people in areas where natural gas was not available so that deforestation could be discouraged.