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PM Imran urges world leaders for joint strategy to soften COVID-19 impact on labourers

PM Imran says labour class has been most impacted due to coronavirus and lockdowns imposed around the world. Photo: File 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan urged global leaders to adopt a joint strategy to deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and to soften the impact of the virus specifically on the labourers.

Speaking at an online summit organised by the International Labour Organisation on coronavirus, the prime minister said the labour class has been the most impacted due to the pandemic and the lockdowns imposed around the world to contain it.

“This is what makes this summit so important,” PM Imran noted.

Speaking about the steps taken by the Pakistani government to stem the spread of the virus and to make sure the labour force of the country does not go hungry, the prime minister said, “We decided that the government needed to transfer cash to the informal part of the labour. Those who were registered, we asked the employers to keep them employed. But the ones who were not, we helped them through Ehsaas programme.”

“Never in the country’s history was so much money transferred to so many people in a short time,” he remarked. “This saved us from some of the worst aspects of the crisis. Unlike in India, where they imposed a curfew which pushed people into deeper poverty.”

The prime minister continued, “No one is sure when the coronavirus will end. We are all praying a vaccine comes out for the virus soon, but, meanwhile, uncertainty prevails.”

“The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the most affected by the virus and these employ the most number of labourers, which is why we need to come up with the idea to solve their issues,” he said.

Speaking about the overseas labourers, the prime minister said a collective strategy is needed to tell other countries to be sympathetic to these labourers. “We need some joint strategy on how we can ‘soften the impact’ on labourers across the world,” he said.

“We would love to share ideas with the world; we would love to know what other countries are doing. Pakistan will keep other countries updated on the situation and how we intend to move forward,” he said. “The exchange of ideas will, I’m sure, help us to solve our problems.”

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