A special inter-ministerial and inter-provincial meeting for assessing the impact of Corona pandemic on Pakistan’s economy was held under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman Planning Commission (DCPC) Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan here at Islamabad on Thursday. DCPC Jahanzeb Khan remarked that government was assessing the socio economic impact of Corona virus on the national economy with the aim to undertake timely interventions to safeguard the economy against the impending effects of Corona virus. Planning Commission would make all efforts to combat and will actively coordinate for necessary emergency funding from both the local and international sources to ward off any negative impacts of Corona virus on livelihoods, jobs, especially the industry. Representatives from the Planning Commission, various ministries and provinces including Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) participated to assess the expected impact on the national and provincial economies.
Representative from the M/o Commerce while briefing the participants on the likely impacts of Corona virus on the national economy said that due to the closure of major port operations and retailers globally, reduced global demand was likely to lead to a reduced global economic growth. Officials from the M/o Maritime Affairs informed efforts are being made to ensure uninterrupted port operations for continued supply of essential commodities. Officials from the M/o National Food Security informed that Pakistan will not face any food shortage as Pakistan has sufficient stocks of essential items to meet the immediate needs. They showed their commitment to ensure the smooth operation of transport and logistics services to keep commodity prices stable.
Federal Director General Health informed that over 1 Million people have been screened so far. The Health Services Academy is currently working on modeling a projection of the estimated extent of the spread of virus in collaboration with international experts. Member Social Sector, Dr Shabnum Sarfraz highlighted the need to augment the human resources which is at the forefront of fighting the epidemic. She urged the ministry to engage the medical and nursing students to add to the capacity of the current health staff.
DCPC Jahanzeb Khan asked the ministries to provide comprehensive assessment reports on economic impacts of Corona pandemic on various sectors of national economy to devise timely government interventions to safeguard jobs and livelihoods of vulnerable sections of society. Planning Commission would present this before the National Security Council (NSC). He further remarked that the Government is keeping a close eye on the situation and will consider providing an economic emergency bailout to address the likely short to medium term liquidity crunch.