Comprehensive arrangements ensured to keep essential industry running: Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar [The Nation] 31 Mar, 2020

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Hammad Azhar said here Tuesday that the federal government, in consultations with all the provinces, had made comprehensive arrangements to ensure sufficient production and supply of all essential items by keeping the relevant industries open and operational. The minister stated this while addressing a press conference here. He was flanked by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Asad Umar and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Services, Zafar Mirza. He said since the country was in lock-down, so there was a dire need to ensure production and supply of daily use essential items across the country to facilitate people. “We have been engaged in meetings for the last four days with chief secretaries and officials of all four provinces, Gilgit Baltistan; Azad Kashmir and Islamabad through video conference and we have made certain decisions with mutual consultations,” the minister said. He said the list of necessary manufacturers, industry, retailers and services had been prepared in consultations with the provinces, adding, however the provincial governments had the right to increase or decrease the list according to their requirements. He said all the provinces and federation were on same page in determining the essential industries needed to be kept in operation in this lockdown situation, adding the industries that were providing raw materials and inputs to these industries would also be kept open. In addition, he said the government would also ensure transportation of labour forces to these industries. The minister said the list of the selected industry would be made public Wednesday after the meeting of National Coordination Committee. He, however stressed the need for level-playing among these industries in all the four provinces to ensure smooth functioning of supply chain. The minister said some problems were faced in Sindh province in transporting labourers to the industry, however the provincial government was now working on to overcome these shortcomings. He said the exporters were also facing some issues at ports, which would also be sorted out. The minister said there was no shortage of food commodities in the country, adding the economic relief package announced by the government would help ensure maintaining buying power of the low income people. READ MORE:FM Qureshi says govt trying to reschedule loans from IMF, WB & ADB He advised the people not to engage in panic-buying as there was no shortage of essential items.

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