Provincial Industries & Trade Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal met with representatives of All Pakistan TVET Sector Forum delegation at PBIT Office in which the delegation members demanded to open TVET sector. They further apprised him that this sector provides skilled human resource to the industries so that this important sector of economy should be opened. The delegation members gave their assurance to fully implement SOPs being issued by the government. They informed the Minister that vocational educational institutions comprise 15 to 20 students in a single class and SOPs can easily be implemented. The Minister while talking with the delegation members said that national economy has been adversely affected owing to coronavirus pandemic. Aslam Iqbal vowed that the revival of plunging economy and provision of employment to the youth is the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He maintained that with the promotion of technical education, problems like poverty and unemployment can be overcome. The Minister emphasized that it is dire need of time to prepare skilled human resource according to the market needs and important sectors for revival of the economy have also been opened in a phased manner. He outlined that TEVT sector holds a significant position with regard to providing employment to the youth and this sector is a big source to provide skilled human resource to the opening industries after lockdown. The Minister assured the delegation members to put up the matter for opening this sector in the NCOC meeting and it is quite likely to receive welcoming news. Those who met with the Minister included Abdul Khaliq Chief Executive Mansol Training Institute, Ahmed Shafique CEO Leading International Hotel and others.
Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid said here on Tuesday that the number of confirmed patients in Punjab is 27,850 and in the last 24 hours 1610 people tested COVID-19 positive. A total of 7,116 people have recovered, 540 people have lost their lives which include 43 deaths in the last 24 hours. Addressing a press conference at the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, Punjab Health Minister said that Overall Punjab has conducted 245,544 tests with 6371 tests in the last 24 hours. Lahore is worst affected district with 12,878 patients. Rawalpindi has 2,255 patients, Gujranwala 1435, Multan 1220 and Faisalabad has 1662 confirm patients. Punjab has conducted the highest number of Contact Tracing with 90871 tests. Due to Contact Tracing, 4887 more patients have been identified in Punjab. Present in the press conference were Special Secretary Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Ajmal Bhatti and CEO Mayo Hospital Professor Asad Aslam Khan. The Minister said that as per guidelines of the World Health Organizations, the Contract Tracing has been intensified which will help control the spread of the virus. She said a lot of rumours about the facilities and resources in the Govt Sector Hospitals are being spread. The latest figures are that Lahore has 119, Rawapindi has 113, Faisalabad 16 and Muzaffargarh has 3 critically ill patients. Over all 251 patients are in serious condition. The Minister said, “As per directions of the Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, the data of patients is daily reviewed at the Corona Command and Control Center. The number of available beds in Lahore is 539 currently and only confirmed and critically ill patients are kept there. The Cabinet Committee on Corona advised the department to conduct tests in general population and the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department constituted Technical Working Group to start smart sampling in entire Punjab with special focus on Lahore. In order to conduct the smart sampling, People Institute for Global Health University, Center for Economic Research in Pakistan, Mahboobul Haq Center for Economic Research LUMS, Center for International Development Harvard University, London School of Economics Universities from Georgetown and Washington jointly worked with the Govt of the Punjab. The researchers were asked to share a report by 28th April which said that out of 35,000 samples in Punjab, as many as 21,000 samples were taken from Lahore and an amount of Rs. 6 Crore was spent on the process. The Minister further said, “The sample results showed a ratio of 5.8 % positive patients in Lahore due to which the treatment facilities have been scaled up in Lahore. The number in the rest of the Punjab, however, is less than expected. The report shared by the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department identified over 50 years of age group as the most vulnerable. Due to our financial situation, we cannot implement a lockdown forever and we will have to observe precautionary measures to control the pandemic. Another research identified that by wearing masks, the transmission can be controlled by around 40 %. We are starting a mass awareness campaign in Punjab on the Corona Pandemic. Due to carelessness of the people, we have already seen in increase in the number of cases recently. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has also requested people the take the necessary the precautions. The world is facing a financial crisis and a number of airlines have gone bankrupt. We are extremely grateful to the philanthropists who have come to help the needy at this moment of trial.” Responding to the queries of journalists, the Minister said that doctors working in Corona wards work for six hours a week and then they are given a leave of 15 days. The treatment of patients is immediately started once a patients is admitted to the hospital. She also said that the patients who show symptoms must immediately call the helpline instead of waiting at home. Punjab has currently 1450 ventilators which are used for critically ill patients and no patient is refused any treatment or other facilities. The research on Corona virus is underway in the entire world but no one can give an exact date for a breakthrough or treatment. The decision of smart lockdown was made in view of the financial cost on the country. We hope that we will overcome this Pandemic.
Provincial Industries & Trade Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal met with industrialists, manufacturers and representatives of pharmacies at PBIT Office in which matters pertaining to scope of preparing protective masks at local level, their prices, provision of raw material, import of machinery and other matters were reviewed. Additional Secretary Industries & Trade Ashar Zaidi and officers of the department also attended the meeting. Mian Aslam Iqbal while addressing the participants on this occasion said that the spread of coronavirus can be curbed by adopting precautionary measures. He urged the masses to save themselves, their children, family members and friends by adopting precautionary measures. He disclosed that Punjab government is considering to declare mandatory the usage of masks across the province and in this case the provision of masks at reasonable rates will have to be ensured everywhere. He remarked that it is welcoming that manufactures are preparing masks at local level and government will extend all possible cooperation in order to improve their capacity to for prepare masks at local level. Aslam Iqbal assured them that he would talk with the federal government with regard to import of duty-free machinery for the purpose of preparing masks and fabrics. He underscored that it is a noble deed to save the lives of the masses and provide due facilitation in adopting precautionary measures. He exhorted the manufacturers to prepare masks to the maximum quantity and also ensure their availability in the markets at affordable rates. The Minister maintained that the future line of action will be framed in consultation with the manufacturers. On this occasion, the manufacturers apprised Mian Aslam Iqbal about problems relating to their capacity to prepare the masks in bulk capacity. The delegation members demanded that the government should grant them permission relating to availability of raw material and importing duty-free machinery for preparing masks. They further apprised the Minister of their capability and capacity to prepare masks on emergency basis. The participants of the delegation comprised Sheraz Khan Niazi from Sadaqat Ltd. Faisalabad, Maj. Waris from TEV PAK, Waleed Cheema from Challenge Apparrel, Zafar Iqbal Khokhar from Maqsood Textile and other manufacturers were also present during the meeting.
Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has directed that next financial year's budgetary priorities and development program be identified adding that it should be realistic in the wake of prevailing circumstances. He stated this while presiding over a meeting about the next financial year's budget at his office here on Monday. Chairman P&D and Secretary Finance briefed the participants about the upcoming budget and its ADP. The CM announced that more resources will be allocated for the health sector due to coronavirus pandemic adding that social sector development will be given importance. The education, transport, infrastructural development and provision of clean drinking water will be prioritised, he added. The CM emphasised the provincial government is fully committed to providing maximum relief to the common man. He directed that solid steps be taken to provide facilities to the general public and instead of hiding behind jugglery of figures, the real situation should be projected in the budget. Innovative steps should be introduced to boost economic activities in the province, he stressed. The chief minister directed to further curtail unnecessary expenditures adding that financial discipline and austerity policy be fully concentrated in the next budget. Meanwhile, promotion of public-private partnership based projects is the need of the hour and such projects be considered for the next ADP, he further said. Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht, Chief Secretary, Chairman P&D, ACS (Urbanisation) and others attended the meeting.
On the directions of Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Punjab Minister for Industries and Trade Main Aslam lqbal met with representatives of Poultry Association in Lahore. Problems being faced by poultry association and prices of chicken were discussed during the meeting. Addressing the meeting, the Minister expressed his grave concerns over sale of chicken on above fixed price. He said that poultry association did not fulfill its commitment which is regrettable. He said that we will protect the interest of common man at any cost and not allow mafias to exploit the people. Chairman Poultry Association said that poultry industry is facing crisis situation as our cost production has increased. The meeting decided to make a mechanism which will safeguard interest of consumers.