ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Friday his government’s top priority was to promote those sectors which could boost economic growth and create jobs for Pakistan’s youth, especially in light of the ongoing conditions, including the coronavirus pandemic. Chairing a high-level meeting on the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2020-21, PM Imran said the coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every segment of the society and hampered efforts to stabilise the economy and boost economic growth. “Given these realities, the government’s top priority is now to promote those sectors that create jobs for the youth and boost the economic growth,” he said. The premier’s economic team — led by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh — briefed him on the current strategy to implement the government’s priorities keeping in view the revenue, expenditure, and the ground realities of the upcoming budget. PM Imran said slashing the non-development expenditures — especially a reduction in the unnecessary government cost — had been a priority of the incumbent leadership from day one. In view of the current situation, special attention was the need of the hour to take this goal forward. With regard to subsidies given in various sectors and the government’s move to provide financial assistance to the deserving people amid the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister said the cash-based handouts were in fact from the taxpayers’ money. Therefore, it was crucial to ensure the best and most efficient use of this money to achieve the desired results, PM Imran added. He explained that Pakistan’s current economic situation, including the impact from the coronavirus pandemic, demanded the pace of reform be accelerated so that any unnecessary burden on the people could be minimized and they could be provided relief. Prime Minister Imran Khan says Pakistan stands at a juncture where we can defeat the corona virus if people strictly follow the SOPs. Addressing volunteers of Corona Relief Tiger Force in Islamabad today, he said one million youth have registered under the force so far. He said 175,000 volunteers provided assistance in various relief activities during lockdown. Imran Khan said volunteers were needed to sensitize public about precautionary measures during gradual opening of lockdown. He said many people needed awareness and guidance to follow the SOPs including social distancing and care. He said the volunteers also guided people offering prayers in mosques due to which the number of new cases reduced at the places of worship.
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