FAISALABAD: The Punjab government is fully aware of the deteriorating employment numbers in the wake of Covid-19-induced lockdown and hopefully the provincial cabinet will permit the reopening of businesses tagged with necessary precautions, said Punjab Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal.
Speaking to a delegation of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) on Wednesday, the minister said coronavirus had caused multiple problems, particularly for the fragile economies like that of Pakistan.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has already announced a Rs1.2-trillion incentive package in order to facilitate exporters and other businesses, and soon the Punjab government will review the situation and gradually allow businesses to restart operations,” he stressed.
Talking about the Faisalabad Expo Centre, the provincial minister directed Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) Chief Operating Officer Aamer Saleemi to expedite work on the project so that it could be inaugurated as soon as possible.
FCCI President Rana Sikandar Azam Khan told the minister that the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector had successfully absorbed the first phase of coronavirus lockdown, however, its extension complicated and multiplied the economic and social problems.
He expressed concern that the unprecedented lockdown would render millions of workers jobless while a large part of the population would slip below the poverty line. He urged the government to take necessary measures in a bid to avoid a major crisis.
Khan appreciated the steps taken by the federal government to grant the construction sector the status of industry. “Despite this decision, a number of sectors linked with the construction sector have not been allowed to work,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2020.