LAHORE                  -           In the wake of prevailing economic situation due to coronavirus, Punjab government has decided to waive off provincial taxes of Rs18 billion.

Briefing the media after chairing a meeting at Chief Minister’s Office on Saturday, Sardar Usman Buzdar said that Rs4,000 per family would be distributed to 2.5 million households affected due to lockdown. He said that Rs10 billion had been allocated for compensation of the affected families.

Giving details of the prevailing situation, the CM said that 82 new patients had been reported from across the province that took the number confirmed cases to 530. He said that daily wagers and labour class was facing financial difficulties due to the lockdown. He said that the government was well aware about the situation and would not leave them alone in this time of distress. He said that Rs10 billion financial aid would be in addition to the relief package announce by the federal government.

 “Government will give one month additional salary as a special bonus to doctors and health professional working in corona wards”, he said. “This is not a payment for duty but recognition of their services by the government. Punjab government will give Shuhda package to those officials, doctors and health professionals who embraced martyrdom during ongoing war against corona”, he said.

Usman Buzdar said that the government has decided to suspend 90-day imprisonment of prisoners and approximately 3,100 prisoners will get benefit from this decision with the

exception of those involved in heinous and serious crimes would not get benefit from this decision.

He said that the Punjab was the only province where Punjab Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Ordinance 2020 had been enforced which facilitated administration and Health Department to implement measures for controlling coronavirus beside providing them legal protection. To a question, he said the government would also review package for the journalists and would take necessary measures for solving their problems.

He said that Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs) were available according to the need for the staff providing treatment to the corona patients. He said that this was not a curfew as only few departments were closed partially. Action against those who violated section 144 was also being monitored, he said.

To a question, Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht said that government would allocate Rs100 billion for development projects that aimed to provide job opportunities to the maximum people. He said financial aid could be availed by filling simple online forms. He said that the aid would be provided after checking information already available in the database.

Meanwhile, the Punjab CM directed forming a committee for devising mechanism for distribution of relief fund among labourers and daily wager.

Chairing a meeting at lawn of Chief Minister’s Office on Saturday to review recommendations and suggestions for Financial Package for the daily wagers and labours being affected from the lockdown, he said that a special package would be given to the families of employees who lost their lives while combating coronavirus. The meeting decided to disburse relief fund through Easy Paisa. The meeting also decided to form committees at district levels to identify labourers and to distribute funds. Deputy Commissioners will head these committees having representation of public representatives and notables, the meeting decieded.

The CM directed continuing supply of ration to the families of Coronavirus patients in the areas of lockdown and semi-lockdown. He said the PTI government would take care of the needs of the poor by providing financial assistance through Prime Minister’s Relief Package, Ehsas Program and Bait-ul-Maal.

Minister for Labour and Human Resource Ansar Majeed called on Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Saturday and presented cheque of Rs6.3 million for CM’s Special Fund for Corona Control. Employees of sub-office of Labour Department, Punjab Employees Social Security Institution donated one day salary for the fund.

The CM appreciated the contribution of officers and staff of PESSI for controlling corona.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar directed to expedite research activities to get a remedy to coronavirus.

Chairing a meeting on Saturday, he stressed the need for utilizing all resources for coping with the challenges of coronavirus.

The CM was informed that UHS has formed four study groups for research. BSL-3 Lab has started working at Jinnah hospital and Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI). The experts briefed the meeting that coronavirus in Pakistan was quite different from the one in Wuhan and Iran.