CORONAVIRUS has brought everything to a standstill with industries and shops all closed as a precautionary measure to avoid the spread of the pandemic. However a country like us cannot afford and sustain such a situation for a long period. Extraordinary situations warrant extraordinary decisions.
Our authorities will have to come up with some out of box solutions to keep important and much needed units operational. It is really a matter of satisfaction that both federal and provincial governments are working in cohesion and coordination to fight this menace. During a meeting on Saturday, they agreed to allow ten major industries to continue operations to maintain supply of essential items in domestic market amid the lockdown. It was initially agreed to allow food, packaging, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, rice, call centres, exporters, essential chemicals, LNG facilities and refineries sectors to operate uninterrupted. Certainly nobody knows as for how long this emergency like situation persists and closure of industries and other sectors for an indefinite period will also cripple country’s ability and capacity to effectively deal with this challenge. Therefore, it is important that authorities while taking on board the stakeholders move fast towards reopening of industrial units putting in place stringent safety guidelines to ensure safety and health of workforce. The government must extend all out assistance to industries to develop these guidelines for safety of workers. A mechanism also needs to be developed to strictly monitor implementation of those guidelines. Similarly, government must also consider starting work on development projects including those related to housing sector and road infrastructure by adopting similar safety guidelines. We also need to substantially cut policy rate to keep the economy moving. As for education sector, schools and universities should be directed to use latest technology and start online classes so that students could continue their studies while staying at home. We need to learn to adapt to crisis like situation. This will also help offset panic and fear amongst the masses.