Prime Minister Imran Khan says Pakistan stands at a juncture where we can defeat the coronavirus if people strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Addressing volunteers of the Corona Relief Tiger Force in Islamabad yesterday, he said that 1mn people have registered under the force so far.
He said that 175,000 volunteers are providing assistance in various relief activities during lockdown.
The prime minister said that volunteers are needed to sensitise the public about precautionary measures during the gradual opening of the coronavirus lockdown.
Khan explained that many people needed awareness and guidance to follow the SOPs, including on social distancing and care.
The prime minister said that the volunteers also help to guide people offering prayers in mosques, due to which the number of new cases traced to places of worship have reduced.
The prime minister said that as a result of precautionary measures, the death toll in Pakistan is far lower than that of many other countries.
Khan said that the services of volunteers will also be needed in areas where “smart” lockdowns will be implemented in the coming days.
They will also be needed to work with the district administration in efforts to control the ongoing locust problem.
He said that the services of the volunteers will also be utilised for tree plantation, under the “Clean and Green Pakistan” programme.
Khan stressed that the medical community across the world is under pressure, and that Pakistan can avoid it if people follow the SOPs.
He said lockdowns impact the livelihoods of people and poor countries are grappling with this situation.
He gave the example of neighbouring India, where the strict lockdown resulted in millions of people becoming unemployed.
The prime minister said that the effective steps taken by the government have been appreciated by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Khan said that under the Ehsaas programme, emergency cash disbursements have been made to the needy.
Referring to economic situation of the country, the prime minister said that the coronavirus pandemic came at a time when the country was getting out of economic crisis due to prudent policies adopted by the government.
He said that we have paid more than Rs5tn in interest for the loans taken by previous governments.
Khan said that the government will be further reducing expenditures in order to cope with the situation.
Later, he reaffirmed the government’s commitment to promote sectors that produce youth employment and boost the economic process.
He gave the remarks while chairing a high-level meeting on Budget 2020-21 in Islamabad.
Khan said that it has been the government’s priority since Day One to reduce non-developmental expenditures, especially non-essential government spending.
He said giving special attention on promoting this aim is the need of the hour.
Deliberating on subsidies in various sectors and provision of assistance by the government, the prime minister said that governmental subsidy is in fact taxpayers’ money, and therefore requires the best and optimal use to achieve the desired results.
Khan said that the current economic situation demands that the reform process be expedited to reduce unnecessary burden on people and to provide them much-needed relief.
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