Flood relief, rehabilitation impossible without business community’s help: Miftah

LAHORE (APP): Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail said on Sunday the government alone could not overcome huge losses due to flash floods and torrential rains in the country, therefore the rich and wealthy people would have to come forward for the help and support to the people affected by the floods.
He said that rehabilitation of affected people and reconstruction/repair of damaged roads, bridges, railway tracks and other infra structure was a Herculean task, which was impossible to surpass without active participation of the industrialists and business community.
Miftah Ismail expressed these views in a meeting with a delegation of industrialists and businessmen here at Governor’s House. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq also accompanied him. The delegation comprised Shahzad Salim, Shahid Abdullah, Arif Saeed, Khalid Afridi, Farooq Naseem, Zubair N. Chattha, Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Abbas Mukhtar, Murad Saigal and Adnan Aftab.
Miftah Ismail told the delegation that government had given Rs 70 billion for relief and rehabilitation of flood affected people and another Rs 50 billion would also be provided for the purpose. He mentioned that 33 million Pakistanis were currently living under the open sky, asserting that estimates of flood destruction were US $18.5 billion as 6,500 kilometers of roads, 246 bridges, 1.7 million houses had been destroyed. One million animals died and 1,300 people lost their lives in the natural calamity.
He said that Rs 1,000 billion were needed to reconstruct the damaged roads. He suggested that business community should form a committee comprising industrialists and businessmen from Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot and other industrial cities of Punjab for collection of flood donations and it should collect at least Rs 2 billion for the flood relief fund. He assured that the government would not only conduct internal audit of the flood relief funds and donations but also get the same from a reputable international audit firm. The government was maintaining balance sheet of each and every penny of the flood funds. Miftah Ismail said the government was ensuring provision of 100 percent facilitation to export-oriented industry with an effort to enhance the country’s overall exports that was a prerequisite to speedy economic development.
On this occasion, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that government was making all out efforts to get concessions from the US and European Union (EU) for Pakistani exporters. The donor and other countries were also being urged to not only extend help and support to our flood victims but also make investments in Pakistan, he added. Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that flash floods washed away transmission lines, roads and rail tracks, and also played havoc with other infrastructures, asserting that rehabilitation and renovation of all these structures would cost heavily to country’s economy. The government, he said, was striving hard to ensure early rehabilitation of the affectees and reconstruction of roads and other structures.