Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the government needs to find a balance between the rising number of coronavirus cases and reducing unemployment in the country.
He highlighted that the other counties at facing coronavirus on one hand and economic downfall on the other hand but Pakistan is facing coronavirus on one hand and poverty on the other one. “You cannot lock up 220 million people,” he said.
If the government announces a lockdown for a long time, it would increase the urge of people to come out, surge the number of infected people, and hit the country with the worst economic condition.
The government has already allocated Rs. 200 billion to the people who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outlook, it would provide relief to the jobless individuals. Furthermore, the people who can’t afford to pay utility bills, their power connections will not be disconnected for the next three months.
Prime Minister said, “I have come across posts on social media where people claim that Pakistanis have some sort of immunity against the coronavirus and that is why we have few deaths. I want to say that this is very dangerous. No one can say how fast this virus will spread.”
“Even this mindset is dangerous. Coronavirus definitely poses a threat to us and we need to take all precautions,” he added.
In addition, Prime Minister Imran Khan raised the status of the construction sector to that of the industry while announcing incentives for investors and businessmen as the government tries to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The main incentives announced by Imran Khan include:
- All the people investing in the construction sector this year will not be questioned about their source of income.
- The tax rate will be fixed for the construction sector, and constructors will be charged tax per square foot or square yard.
- People carrying out construction in the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme for the poor will only have to pay 10% of the fixed tax.
- Withholding tax will be waived off for all construction sectors except the formal sectors of steel and cement.
- Sales tax will be reduced in coordination with provinces.
- Any family selling their house will not have to pay any capital gains tax.
- A subsidy of Rs30 billion to be given for the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme.
- Construction sector to be given the status of an industry.
- Construction Industry Development Board to be set up to support the sector.
Prime Minister also made a five-member committee to address the problems of media workers during the coronavirus pandemic. He said, “Every possible effort will be made to protect media workers and lessen the industry’s hardships.”