Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that the country will need more doctors if the coronavirus cases exceed further in the future, lamenting that the doctor-to-patient ratio in Pakistan is quite low as compared to other countries.
The prime minister made the statement after the inauguration of the telehealth portal today, which will help people with medical emergencies.
In his address, the premier said that more than a million people have registered for the Corona Relief Tiger Force.
The PM also urged health workers to register themselves with the volunteer force. “Even after the coronavirus pandemic passes, we will need this force to go to far-flung areas in Pakistan.”
The prime minister said that through technology, the government can disseminate information to the far-flung areas and deal with their issues.
PM Imran praised the telehealth initiative, saying that the health sector is facing huge challenges.
He reiterated that this year, the country will have to battle against the virus.
“Until there is a vaccine made, we will have to put up with this virus,” cautioned the prime minister.
Centre’s telehealth portal free for all: Tania Aidrus
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus said the federal government’s telehealth portal was available to people across Pakistan.
“The service is available to all the Pakistanis. I am proud to announce that Pakistan is the first nation that is providing such a service for free,” Aidrus said while briefing about the initiative to Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The special assistant urged doctors to sign up for the service so that they could help the people.
COVID-19 has opened new ventures for healthcare: Dr Zafar Mirza
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said coronavirus has opened new ventures for healthcare and telehealth is one of them.
“The use of this [telehealth] service during the pandemic has increase. Pakistanis who think they have symptoms of coronavirus can just pick up their phone and connect with the doctors,” Mirza said.
“I urge all the female doctors who were unable to continue their practice to avail this service and help the people. Telehealth is here to stay and it will be able to help people even in far-flung areas,” Mirza said.
Sukuk oversubscription reflects strong market confidence in govt’s policies: PM Imran
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday hailed the “landmark financial innovation” whereby the government raised Rs200 billion through sukuk issue via competitive book building at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).
Taking to Twitter, the premier said the move had led to his government saving Rs18bn which could now be used for the people’s welfare.
Landmark financial innovation with Rs 200 bn Sukuk issued through competitive book building at PSX. Oversubscribed by 170%, reflecting a strong market confidence in our Govt's policies. As a result govt saved Rs18 billion – savings that can now be used for welfare of the people.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 20, 2020
The Rs200bn sukuk was oversubscribed to Rs339 billion, around 70pc above the target offer, at minus 0.10pc for six months Kibor. This is the first time ever that the government has been able to borrow long term at less than the Kibor.
Commenting on the development, PM Imran said the oversubscription reflected “strong market confidence in the government’s policies”.
The PM’s adviser on finance, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, had also commented on the development late last night, lauding the government for raising the hefty amount below Kibor for the first time ever.
First time, Govt raised Rs 200 billion through Sukuk at less than KIBOR rate, through competitive book building at PSX, saving Rs 18 billion over 10 years on debt servicing. Transaction oversubscribed by 70%.
Excellent team effort of MOF Debt Office, SECP, SBP and PSX.
— Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh (@a_hafeezshaikh) May 19, 2020
The PHL, a state-owned enterprise, approved the 10-year government guaranteed debt instrument with semi-annual profit payments for investors amounting to Rs199.96bn only. The instrument was issued to address liquidity constraints faced by the power sector.
By raising funds in the above manner, the government saved the cost of debt by 0.88pc in comparison to the last issuance of PES-I at a cost of Kibor plus 0.8pc.
In addition, this is the first time ever that the book building mechanism for spread discovery of any debt instrument has been done through the country’s capital markets. The bidding process was aimed at spread discovery in relation to six months Kibor basis on the Reverse Dutch Auction method.
Unlike the Sukuk issuance by the PHL last year, investors who could participate in this issue included banks, financial institutions, companies, mutual funds, voluntary pension schemes, private funds being managed by the non-bank financial companies, insurance companies, securities brokers, funds and trusts (as defined in the Employees Contributory funds), and Individual Investors having net assets of at least Rs2 million.
Given that it is a government-backed security, such an issuance is generally considered risk free and provides stable returns in the long run. Once the security is listed, investors throughout the country or residing abroad can buy or sell units of the Sukuk on the PSX trading platform through their broker.