LAHORE                  -                  Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) President and Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif has demanded federal government to reduce fuel prices to Rs 70/litre.

While addressing a consultative meeting with businessmen, traders and industrialists through video link here on Thursday, Shahbaz Sharif said that, as much as it is necessary to stay at home, it is equally important to run businesses and employments to ensure basic livelihood of the people especially the poor strata of society.

“The decline of exports up to 50 percent due to the ongoing crisis may have negative impact on the investment sector in the country,” he said, adding that PML-N’s National Action Plan would have pulled country out of crisis, but the real challenge was the lack of resolve, seriousness and ability to combat the coronavirus crisis in the country.

He expressed the fear that negative growth rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and increase in unemployment rate in the country. He also expressed his sympathies with the small and big traders for the economic hardships as a result of current healthcare crisis in the country.

Shahbaz Sharif termed maintaining social distancing as crucial to defeat the coronavirus, while standing up to the challenge of keeping wheel of economy running. “The coronavirus has left deep imprints on stock exchange and business activities in the country,” he said and termed it a most difficult challenge of our lives. He promised to prepare a Charter of Demand based on consultations and suggestions of business and traders’ communities, which will be presented to the government for implementation.

He expressed his gratitude to Chinese President Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang for the provision of support to Pakistan during this hour of need. “The personal protective equipment (PPEs), masks, medical equipment & other material gifted by our great friend China are critical to fighting COVID-19,” he added.