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Experts term public private stakeholders’ cooperation critical to mitigate Covid19 impacts

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Islamabad: Public and private stakeholders need to work together to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of Covid19. The experts from diverse backgrounds, said this while sharing their views at virtual public private dialogue ‘Analyzing Government Response to the Covid19 Pandemic’ organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), here on Wednesday.

The dialogue was held in collaboration with the Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress project (GRASP), funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC), and it was aimed to analyze the regulatory and institutional response by the federal and provincial governments of Balochistan and Sindh during Covid19, and to help augment emergency response to revive the rural economy in the two provinces.

The findings of the research on regulatory and institutional response of Balochistan and Sindh during Covid19, were also shared on the occasion with key stakeholders and policy makers. The event brought together key influencers and policy makers, who participated in a meaningful debate on the institutional, regulatory, and government response in the wake of pandemic, and how the rural economy could be assisted to recover from its adverse effects.

Speaking at the event, Ovidiu Mic, Head of the EU’s Development Cooperation in Pakistan said, “Research and discussions such as these are at the heart of GRASP in order to come up with more inclusive solutions to policy issues. Countering an unprecedented situation, such as Covid19, requires public and private stakeholders to work together to align development efforts and emergency response strategies to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. There is a particular need to support SME’s which are critical for economic growth, particularly in these challenging times.”

Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director SDPI, while presenting the findings of the study to the participants, stated that through better utilization of provincial budgets already allocated for Covid19 response, targeting micro and small farms in both formal and informal sector, inclusion of informal agri-businesses in social protection databases, effective interventions could be implemented during future Covid19 rounds.

Robert Skidmore, Chief of Sector and Enterprise Development at the International Trade Centre in Geneva said, ‘’Increasing connectivity, improving primary data collection in rural areas, fine-tuning communication and coordination between all stakeholders in the field and  addressing the differential impacts on women were some of the areas that both the public and private sectors can focus on together.”

It’s worth mentioning here that GRASP has been adapted in response to the pandemic, and a Covid-19 emergency response work plan is being implemented. Through impact surveys, awareness campaigns, and policy dialogues the project has been working to improve MSME’s in Balochistan and Sindh.

GRASP Coordinator Azher Ali Choudry thanked the government officials and private sector representatives for their inputs, and concluded the event by stating, “Financing needs of the agriculture sector need to be assessed and expedited, and GRASP will continue its work to uplift small and medium enterprise in Sindh and Balochistan through work on the ground, and policy recommendations

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