LAHORE - The Punjab government Wednesday approved holding the budget session of provincial assembly in a local hotel in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic from the already allocated funds for the assembly businesses.

The approval was given at the 36 meeting of the Cabinet Standing Committee for Finance headed by Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakhat.

The meeting was attended by the advisor to Chief Minister Dr Salman Shah, Secretary Finance Abduallah Sumbal, Chairman Planning and Development Hamid Yaqoob Sheikh and other officials of the department concerned.

The meeting also approved changing the name of Civil Hospital Bahawalpur to Victoria Hospital Bahawalpur.

The tax exemption to the cinemas was also extended to June 30,

Two agendas of reimbursement of medical charges on account of liver transplantation operation in India from L&DD and home department were also discussed in meeting.

The minister observed that when the liver transplant facility was available in Punjab at Punjab Kidney and Liver Institute then why the permission of getting treatment from abroad sought.

He further asked to check the reasons, why the PKLI was not working in it full capacity.

He said treatments from abroad are extra burden on the provincial kitty.

Furthermore, the minister also rejected the planning and development department demand of allowing the utility allowance to the Grade-20 and above officers.

He observed that the government will not give any further privileges to already privileged class at this time of corona crisis.

He said that prevention of corona and rehabilitation of lockdown-effected people, who have lost the ability to feed their family twice a day  is our foremost priority.

He asked the Chairmen Planning and Development and Secretary Finance to such proposals during the COVID crisis.

The minister stressed the need of following the COVID-19 SOPs while holding the budget session in a private hotel, besides checking the body temperature of the members before entering the hall for session.