ASAD UMAR ASKS BUSINESS COMMUNITY TO COOPERATE IN MASS VACCINATION

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ISLAMABAD, MAY 28 (DNA) – Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Planning & Development said that the government was going to launch a national campaign for vaccination to control the Covid-19 pandemic and urged that the business community should fully cooperate in mass vaccination of their employees and general public that would pave way for removal of all restrictions on the businesses.

 He said that the government wanted businesses to run for 24/7, but currently only 21 percent of the population of Islamabad has been vaccinated and if the business community cooperates in vaccination of people up to the desired target, the government would remove all restrictions on businesses. He said that the government was ready to set up vaccination centres in ICCI, markets and industries for vaccination of maximum people to make Islamabad a role model city for controlling the coronavirus. He was hopeful that with increased vaccination, all restrictions on businesses would go by the coming Eid ul Azha.

 He said this while addressing the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Ali Nawaz Awan SAPM on CDA Affairs, Presidents Anjuman-e-Tijaran of Islamabad/Rawalpindi and Presidents of Market Associations were also present at the occasion while the Presidents of various Chambers including Faisalabad, Gujranwala joined the event through zoom. Khalid Chaudhry, former SVP ICCI performed the role of stage secretary.

Asad Umar said that restaurants, marquees, wedding halls and educational institutions have been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and the government was working on a special relief package for them. He said that parks would be opened with limited capacity of visitors.

He said that with the balanced decisions of the government regarding Covid-19 pandemic, the economy has achieved 3.94 percent growth and over 4.8 percent growth was estimated for the next year while the PTI government would exceed 5.8 percent economic growth by the last year of its tenure. He appreciated the presentation given by the President ICCI and said that the ICCI ruling group was bringing forward young and talented business leaders through its platform, which was laudable.

In his welcome address, Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President, ICCI lauded the government’s efforts to control the coronavirus and demanded that the government should follow the policy of one safe day in a week and enhance business timings up to 12 a.m. midnight for revival of business activities.

He said that due to lockdowns and restrictions on businesses, the economy has suffered a loss of Rs.2.5 trillion last year and was expecting a loss of Rs.1 trillion this year while livelihood of 18 million workers was at stake as sales of businesses have reduced by 70 percent. He said that the average coronavirus positivity rate has come down to around 4.5 percent while Islamabad has the lowest positivity rate of 2 percent, which showed that the business community and people were following SOPs. Therefore, there was an urgent need to ease restrictions on businesses to help revive the economy.

He said that all market associations including associations of other sectors like restaurants and parks have signed a petition to ensure strict compliance of SOPs in Islamabad and urged that the government should open amusement parks, indoor dining in restaurants, cinemas and gyms to revive the business activities. He assured that ICCI would fully cooperate with the government in the vaccination campaign and was ready to set up a vaccination desk for the business community in its premises.

Mian Akram Farid, Chairman Founder in his vote of thanks lauded the efforts of the government for achieving 3.94 percent growth that would go further up due to good performance of stock market, inauguration of Rashakai Economic Zone, construction package and other positive moves.

 However, he said that the government should remove all duties on the import of industrial machinery to promote industrialization and focus on the GSP plus regime and FATF that could create problems for the growth of the economy.=DNA

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