Focus on universal health coverage and alleviation of poverty in 2021
Islamabad: Resolving that 2021 will be the year of economic growth for Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced two New Year’s resolutions on Friday.
Khan said that his resolution for 2021 is to complete two public welfare projects: universal health coverage for all citizens and zero hunger initiative. In his New Year’s message on Twitter, Khan said he would be focusing on issues that affect the common people and vowed “to make Pakistan a welfare state” by the end of the year.
Khan announced universal health coverage for all citizens, saying that the programme, first initiated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), will soon be extended to Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan. Other provinces, Sindh and Balochistan, would also announce similar heath projects, he said. This year, KP became the country’s first province to offer a universal health insurance programme for all its residents under which each of the 6 million families in the province will be entitled to medical treatment of up to Rs1 million ($6,000) a year at over 250 government and private hospitals across Pakistan.
Zero Hunger initiative
Announcing his second resolution for the year, the premier said: “We will start our most ambitious nationwide project ‘Koi Bhuka Na Soyay’ (No one should sleep hungry) under Ehsaas programme” – a social protection system for vulnerable families in Pakistan. PM Khan hoped that by the end of the year, “these two projects would move Pakistan closer to its goal of making it a welfare state.”
2021 will be the year of growth for Pakistan
Expressing hope that 2021 will be the year of economic development for Pakistan, Khan said that the country was moving in the right direction with the policies aimed at bringing people out of poverty through wealth creation. Speaking at the launching ceremony of US$100 million MG Motor plant to assemble electric vehicles locally, Khan said the government’s focus would be on industrial development during the current year that will spur economic growth as evident by constant growth in cement and textile sectors in the recent months.
Improve living standards
Incentives for the business community will help promote industrialisation, increase in exports and lead to wealth, which will improve living standards, he said. Khan said the country would now prioritise industrialisation, agricultural modernisation and special economic zones to attract investment, learning from the extraordinary economic success of China that lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in 35 years.
In his message, Khan noted that “last year was a tough year for us and for people across the world because of COVID-19” but the country fared far better than most and managed to protect both lives and livelihoods during the pandemic.