Peshawar                  -             The Parliamentary Task Force on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), KP Assembly, yesterday convened the second virtual online meeting of the Task Force to discuss the legislature’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Under the chairmanship of the convener, Arif Ahmadzai, Special Assistant to CM on Mines & Mineral the Task Force met for briefing by the SDGs Unit of KP on the socio-economic impact assessment & response plan by UN agencies; to suggest key focus areas and recommendations for the proposed research paper on the upcoming financial budget (2020 -21) of KP and to explore and identify ways for better communication with the constituents on mass awareness related to governmental policies with regard to Coivd-19.

The virtual meeting was attended by Arif Ahmadzai, Convener/Special Assistant to CM on Mines and Minerals; Zahoor Shakir, Special Assistant to CM on Zakat and Ushr, MPAs Syed Fakhar Jahan, Rehana Ismail, Humaira Khatoon, Ayesha Bano, Babar Saleem, Asia Khattak, Dr. Sumera Shams, Salahudin, Sahibzada Sanaullah, Rangez Ahmed and others.

The members were briefed by the SDGs Unit about the latest Pakistan’s socio-economic impact assessment & response plan developed by UN agencies in Pakistan.

The members agreed to recommend suggestions to the provincial government for the upcoming budget in the form of a research paper from SDGs Task Force covering areas related to health, social protection, employment, small & medium enterprises (SMEs), public works, emergency response, and economic recovery.

The meeting also discussed the importance of Article 119 of the Constitution on custody etc, of Provincial Consolidated Fund and Public Account.

The meeting suggested to bring reforms in the public financial management processes for better oversight of funds by the Assembly and to give the true spirit of the Constitutional obligation.

They emphasized the involvement of the Ulema, scholars, schoolteachers, and civil servants for awareness among the masses. In this regard, a communication strategy was also discussed and agreed upon under which video messages would be developed and radio shows would be carried out to inform the people about the SOPs of social distancing and to get support on the government efforts in fighting this pandemic.

Similarly, the members recommended involving the traders, small businessmen, industrialists, manufacturers, and other stakeholders before taking any critical discussion about the business community for economic recovery. They suggested a database at constituency or district level of all the governmental and non-governmental organizations to be developed to reach out to the most affected, needy people in order to prevent any duplication and to ensure a coordinated response.

While discussing the Assembly’s role in devising a joint strategy for the pandemic, the meeting reiterated for a collective resolve on the part of the lawmakers to provide support required to the government to ensure that immediate actions are taken for the welfare of the people of the province.