I am not an economist governor, chief minister or mayor, but wanted to give some suggestions on how the Pakistani government should tackle the COVID-19 situation. We as a nation are facing, and will be facing further economic crises in the coming weeks because of the lockdown.
First of all, I would humbly appeal to the government to extend this lockdown until at least 1st of May 2020, (as the virus will slowly vanish when we continue to protect each other by staying at home). It took China 4 months to control it, Europe is closed for a month now, whereas we have only been in 3 weeks of caution and expect it to end now. This definitely makes no sense.
Meanwhile, this is a crucial time for the government to adapt sensible strategies that can save the masses from hunger, control this pandemic, and not stress the economy.
Right now hunger and starvation is a bigger threat to the masses of Pakistan then corona virus.
1. From the PM coronafund, please nominate existing known social organisations / philanthropists and allocate funds to them. They already have a channel and system in place and even manpower. You can contact all known SUPERMARKET retailers and request them to offer the same products.
2. Deploy police to fine people “in jogging tracks’ using corona lockdown times as an excuse to walk on streets or roads or in their lanes (regardless of masks).
3. Fine bikes and cars on roads after 8pm without any fair reason. This money should go to the provincial governments coronafund
3. We need to “Firmly Warn” the youth playing football and cricket on open roads and in plots. How? By noting their home address and calling their parents. Give police official phones and enough credit to do it.
4. Request China or the Middle East for more testing kits/ masks etc
5. Do not impose lockdown on important industries. Every employee must wear a PPE suit and have safety at work. They must have digital thermometers in place prior to entry of your staff. Anyone experiencing even symptoms must inform the manager and stay at home!
6. Plan coronavirus safety and awareness campaigns in the rural areas. How? Create rural task force teams for this.
7. Please approve only midnight movement of important goods / via logistics nationwide.
Suggestions for Staff Salaries:
Employers who can afford to pay salaries shall atleast give 30-40% of total SALARIES for the month March & April. (March 21st onwards) , and can also treat this as a loan which can be deducted at 5% July 2020 onwards.
Landlords and Tenants:
Please consider waiving off rent for the month of April and May 2020 by 20-35% if possible else give your tenants an option to give you April and May rents in/by end 2020.
However it all depends person to person. Some landlords may be able to waive off completely while some may only waive off 15-20%.
Feed the needy:
Prepare meals from homes for the next 2 weeks and serve the community.
Please share if you even like a single suggestion above
This is more serious for us because our majority of total population lives in the rural areas where coronavirus can beat us in bigger numbers because of lack of facilities, language barriers, lack of understanding and education.