Imran Khan reviews impact of coronavirus on Pakistan's economy

Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad, May 8 (PTI) Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday reviewed the impact of the coronavirus on Pakistan's already fragile economy, as the death toll in the country due the pandemic neared 600 with over 26,000 infections.

Khan on Thursday said that Pakistan would begin easing its nationwide lockdown in a phase-wise manner by allowing various businesses to open up from Saturday, citing the economic crisis due to the shutdown.

The prime minister on Friday chaired a meeting to review the economic situation and future outlook of the economy in the wake of COVID-19 situation, according to a statement by his office.

A detailed presentation was made by the Finance Ministry about the overall situation and the performance of various macroeconomic indicators during the past nine months of the current financial year.

Khan was also apprised of the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Appreciating the performance of various economic indicators during past nine months of the current financial year, the prime minister appreciated the efforts of the Finance Ministry to ensure financial discipline and provision of relief during COVID-19 situation,” according to the statement.

He emphasised that greater attention should be paid to supporting small and medium sector enterprises and the agriculture sector enabling them to create greater job opportunities for the people.

He said that all efforts should be made to provide maximum possible relief to the people.

The meeting reviewed the progress and impact of the economic stimulus package, amounting to Rs. 1.25 trillion (25,0000 crore), to provide relief to the poor and vulnerable segments of society and to support various sectors of the economy that have adversely been hit by COVID-19 pandemic.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) through a series of tweet said that till April 30, various banks sanctioned more than Rs 23 billion to 209 companies which will protect the jobs of around 220,000 employees.

The Ministry of National Health Service reported five more deaths on Friday, taking the country's toll to 599.

Punjab reported 10,033 cases, Sindh 9,691, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 3,956, Balochistan 1,725, Islamabad 558, Gilgit-Baltistan 394 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 78 patients.

More than 2,57,000 tests have been conducted so far, including 11,993 in the last 24 hours.

Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah told the media in Karachi that his province will start easing lockdown from Monday.

Sindh government was the first to announce lockdown in March but the province is still battling the spread of the virus. PTI SH NSA