COVID-19 an opportunity to take firm stance, revive economic structure

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

The COVID-19 epidemic is not only the biggest challenge for Pakistan but the whole World. Economic fallout for each country is drastic, the global supply chain is shaking while countries’ facing huge bumps in imposing proper quarantine regime.
At present the fatalities of Coronavirus in Pakistan is rising in full speed, as just in many other countries around the World. But, the reaction of most of these countries to the lockdown episode remained the same, as the World witnessed lockdown exits in all continents, despite the spiking infection cases.
Some experts say the initial reaction of these countries didn’t anticipate the public willingness to remain in homes. People got annoyed for some reasons such as job losses among others in a short period of time, thus putting pressure on the governments to ease restrictions.
Similarly, the Pakistani government and traders seem confused on the future of lockdown in the country. People are also found frustrated as none expected the lockdown to be this long. This is the moment to realize that this is the most serious socio-economic crisis that our country facing. This virus crisis will have short and long term implications for Pakistan’s economy.
Though, this could be an opportunity for the current government to decisively act on restructuring of economic foundation, and chart a new path forward to prosperity. The wheel of global economy is jam, there is huge gap in the global market, Pakistan can benefit a lot, if wisely make selected policies and push adaptation of new technologies, innovation, boost the citizens skills, ease doing business, and support start-ups. Only, then can be taken positive outcome from the COVID-19 crisis.
The government should also revive duties on import and export, help and support production, establish supply chain, provide easy loans to new businesses. Though, the coming months will be painful for economic recovery, thousands of young graduates and millions of workers might struggle to find jobs. The government needs to initiate a specific program for the fresh graduates and low-skilled workers.
The current government has always talked about bringing change and aiming for transformation while charting a perfect course forward. Pakistanis are also watching the crisis, and observing the government decision on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic might be the opportunity for the government to take advantage of in the best positive manners. Creative and bold policy measures are the necessity today, and if executed with intent, they can chart a more sustainable and inclusive path forward for Pakistan and its citizens.
Though, this week the government of Pakistan gave green signal and opened small markets and businesses under special standard operating procedures.
On one hand this step will provide opportunity for small business owners to earn and contribute to economy but the other side could be more spread of virus, if the SOPs were not effectively implemented.
–The author is staff member of The Daily Mail