Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

3 April 2020, Friday

CPEC: PM wants to resume construction

​​​​​​​Experts say Pandemic may cost economy Rs2.5tr in losses; Moody revise down Pakistan’s growth projection to 2-2.5%; Punjab will lose most jobs; Religious leaders must obey government orders, says CII;

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

by Lakshmi V Menon

CPEC: PM wants to resume construction
PM Imran Khan directed a construction specific relief package on 2 April and ordered immediate resumption of construction of CPEC’s energy and infrastructural projects; called for the formation of the Codal Research Committee (CRC) to craft measures for a joint Centre-Province tackling of the virus and its economic issues; and directed energy ministry to speed up reforms and eliminate systemic hindrances. Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar briefed the PM regarding Centre-province coordination, CPEC projects, food security, and resumption of construction. (Dawn, 3 April 2020) 
Moody revise down Pakistan’s growth projection to 2-2.5%
Moody’s Investors Service, a global credit rating agency, said Pakistan’s economy would continue to grow unlike other corona-hit countries, but downsized the growth projection to 2-2.5 per cent for FY20 ending on 30 June 2020; it also estimated 5 million job layoffs. Prior to COVID-19, the agency projected a GDP growth of 2.9 per cent for Pakistan. Meanwhile, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has downsized GDP growth to 3 per cent. SBP has brought out several economic cushions to deal with the plunge due to coronavirus. (The Express Tribune, 3 April 2020)

Experts say Pandemic may cost economy Rs2.5tr in losses
On 2 April 2020, federal government said the coronavirus would cause multi-sectoral losses of Rs2.5tr across various economic performance parameters. Planning commission estimated 12 million face employment loss (20 per cent of employed labour force), losing monthly average of Rs180 billion to Rs260 billion in absolute terms. FBR said achievable tax collection was Rs4.2tr (emphasizing Rs4.4tr was unattainable). (The News International, 3 April 2020) 
Advocate Aitzaz says Jang/Geo chief’s arrest contradicts NAB’s business policy
Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s advocate Aitzaz Ahsan told the Lahore High Court on 2 April that National Accountability Bureau’s arrest of his client based on a 34 years old false property case was for airing news against NAB authorities. The bench heard two petitions – first, seeking post-arrest bail and second, for a ‘grant of physical remand by an accountability court’. Aitzaz said the arrest was premature as it was during the complaint verification stage, and against NAB’s October 2019 directive regarding businessmen. Jang’s independent media policy has caused trouble with NAB and the federal government. Hearing will resume on 7 April. (The News International, 3 April 2020) 
Coronavirus: Punjab will lose most jobs
Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), an extension of Planning Commission, says Punjab will be worst hit by coronavirus with 10-12 million daily wage workers being laid off. The corresponding estimates for Sindh are 3.3 to 4.1 million, approximately two million for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and less than a million for Balochistan. Across all four provinces most lay offs are from the agricultural sector, followed by service sector. (The News International, 3 April 2020) 
Religious leaders must obey government orders: CII
Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) urged religious leaders to obey the government’s orders to not hold congregational prayers in view of the pandemic. CII warned clerics of arrests and lockdown of mosques in case of further defiance. CII is currently sandwiched between demands of Center to ensure congregational prayers are avoided and complaints by clerics regarding mistreatment by government. Meanwhile, CII has advised authorities to negotiate with clerics instead of arresting and reprimanding them. (Dawn, 3 April 2020)

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