Islamabad: Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan, while addressing the nation on Tuesday (April 14), announced a two-week extension to the ongoing countrywide lockdown; in addition to allowing for the reopening of several ‘low-risk’ industries, according to news sources. The ban on public assemblies and educational institutes, however, will remain in effect for the time being.
He expressed gratitude for the nation for respecting the restrictions ensured by the lockdown and added that the prevailing coronavirus spread is 30% of the estimated number of cases.
However, he went on to say that people shouldn’t ignore the risk and continue expressing extreme caution. Khan further revealed that the government will announce an incentive (stimulus) package for the construction industry to be promulgated through ordinance today. He called it ‘the greatest incentive package of its kind in Pakistan’s history’.
Regarding the opening of the construction sector, the premiere quoted Moody’s research that declares construction as one of the low-risk and high paying sector. Khan said there is a 98% consensus on which industries are to open however, he added, the provinces have their rights to further delay or resume industries based on their ground realities.
Federal Minister of Industries and Production Hammad Azahar announced a list of low-risk industries that are to resume under the international standards of World Health Organisation (WHO)-endorsed coronavirus prevention Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The minister said that supply chains have remained operational for industries producing daily essentials like fuel, banking, relief, agriculture, pharma. Ongoing developing situation to be reviewed accordingly.
The industries, identified as low-risk, allowed to reopen are as follows:
- Chemical manufacturing
- E-commerce for export, e-commerce for local delivers of essentials
- Software and programming firms
- Paper, stationery, and packaging industries
- Firms that operate with on-premise laborer
- Cement industry
- Fertilizer industry
- Mines and minerals
- Laundry and dry cleaners
- Nurseries (Horticulture)
- Agricultural equipment manufacturing industries
- Glass manufacturing
- Book shops, stationeries
- All export industries – subjected to confirmation of order from the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP)
Azhar further said that the government will resume the construction sector in phases – at the initial level, the industries being reopened include brick kilns, stone crushers, pre-fabrication materials preparing units.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah, while commenting on the province’s ongoing lockdown situation (further extended till April 30) during a press briefing today, provided a tentative assessment that the construction work within the province will probably only be allowed till the gray structure finalization stage.