KARACHI: Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said the whole world is paying the price for considering coronavirus a Chinese virus whose impact will remain limited to that economic power.
Talking to business community here, Mian Zahid said that the virus has devastated rich and poor countries alike and hasn’t spared nuclear powers which have brought the importance of investing in social welfare and public health to the limelight.
He said that 1822 billion dollars were spent on arms and ammunition in 2018 while investments in health sector were a fraction of it which was a blunder.
The country that topped military spending is paying the heaviest price of the coronavirus disruption while other nations facing leadership crisis and policy confusion will also pay a heavy price, the veteran business leader.
Mian Zahid noted that global losses due to pandemic may surpass losses of world war, global financial crisis and great depression while its impact can continue to haunt people for decades.
He said that the pandemic has redefined many things and now many people are thinking that countries should spend more on health, education, environment and social welfare and reduce frictions between nations.
The former minister said that global GDP is expected to fall by two percent while all the painful measures taken by the government in Pakistan including high interest rates, spending cuts and devaluation etc. to stabilise economy go waste.
Pakistan is also fighting its war against the virus and the recently announced package, largest in the country’s history is laudable.
He said that prices of petroleum, gas and coal has receded by one-third in the global market, therefore, the power and gas tariff should be reduced by fifty percent and payment date should be extended for one month.
Mian Zahid said full lockdown would have been better in place of partial one and that government should focus on the welfare of daily wagers and vulnerable.
Those industrialists who have not fired their employees in this grim situation should be given special relaxations while profiteers should be dealt sternly, he demanded.
The President PBIF said that the National unity is imperative to win the war against coronavirus which should be considered by the politicians representing government and opposition.