PM praises NCOC, SBP & Ehsaas for effective response in COVID-19

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ISLAMABAD, Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday commended the performance of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Ehsaas team for their effective and coordinated response during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has gained recognition by UK-based ‘The Economist’ in its report.


The Prime Minister in a tweet appreciated the three departments of the government and expressed gratitude to Allah Almighty for His blessings.


“Congratulations to NCOC members, Ehsaas team & State Bank of Pakistan for effective response to COVID-19 pandemic; and above all thanks to the mercy of Almighty Allah,” he tweeted.


In its Global Normalcy Index, The Economist magazine had ranked Pakistan at number three out of 50 countries that performed well in controlling the COVID-19 spread.


The report showed that Pakistan’s neighbours, India and China, were ranked 48 and 19 with scores of 46.5 and 72.9 respectively. The United States stood at 20th in the ranking.


The Economist’s ‘normalcy index’ focuses on how better the countries are returning to their pre-pandemic levels, by grading each country using eight indicators: Time not at home, retail, office use, public transport, road traffic, flights, cinema, and sports attendance.


According to the report, a rise was witnessed in global normalcy during March 2020 due to several countries imposing lockdowns.


With 100 set as the pre-pandemic level of activity, Pakistan ranked third with 84.4 out of 100. While Hong Kong topped the list with a ranking of 96.3 while New Zealand was ranked in second with 87.8.


In the category of ‘office use’, ‘retail’, ‘public transport’ and ‘time not spent at home, Pakistan ranked over 100. However, the categories of ‘cinema’ and ‘flights’ witness a low score.


Later on, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that government was transforming the traditional techniques in minerals and gems sector by introducing the latest technology and for the first time in 74 years of country’s history, this sector was being restructured into export industry.


The Prime Minister was chairing a meeting of gems, jewelry and minerals task force here. The meeting was attended by Minister for Industries Makhdoom Khusru Bakhtiar, Special Assistant to PM Dr Shabaz Gill, Chairman Gems and Jewelry Task Force Engineer Gul Asghar Khan, Atif Khan, members of the task force and relevant authorities.


The Prime Minister was apprised of the restructuring of the gems, jewelry and minerals sector and the recommendations over the proposed mineral city. The meeting was told that Pakistan had the capacity of exporting precious gems worth 5 billion dollars annually which would have positive effects upon the country’s economy, besides generating huge employment opportunities.

About 99 different precious gems reserves were found in Pakistan, making it the eighth biggest country in the world in terms of its production, it was added.

Moreover, according to an estimate, there was 200 tons gold consumption in Pakistan and through effective legislation and better arrangements, this sector could be turned into one of the biggest industry.

The Prime Minister directed that all those resources which were being wasted, should be utilized by framing a regular schedule for implementation of mechanism, besides removal of bottlenecks for the investors.

The meeting was apprised that the gems and jewelry had been given the status of industry and under the mechanism of Task Force, its implementation would be ensured.

To increase exports, support from Pakistan’s embassies and missions abroad would be sought for its promotion abroad.

Moreover, gems and jewelry city would be established to bring all resources at one place, ensure resolution of issues through one window operation and provision of facilities to the investors.

Initially, the available resources would be utilized to adopt public-private partnership model. To access the international markets, relevant certification would be obtained. Under it, not only standards for precious gems would be framed but also, the current standards would be brought at par with the international standards, it was further added.

The Prime Minister was apprised that due to lack of research resources in this sector, no tangible progress was made, however, under a strategy; the research sector would be made functional to introduce all the latest standards.

The meeting was further given a detailed briefing over the establishment of mineral city. For this purpose, area had been identified for setting up chemical and mineral industry where with the industrial value addition from raw minerals, imports would be reduced and exports be enhanced.


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