CORONAVIRUS – PANDEMIC:
PM Announce 900 Billion relief Package
Author: Irfan Jan M.Phil Economics Uok
The Corona virus crises have been a harsh wake up call for the Global Economy. Most of the businesses are closed. The big cities of the World are totally locked down. Corona virus Devour over Nineteen Thousand lives. Coronavirus outbreaks has plunged the World into a recession. The Germany canceller called this outbreak is biggest after the World War II.
There are many countries announcing stimulus packages. According to sources, USA announces 1 Trillion $ which may be converted into 2 Trillion $ soon, Germany announces 608 Billion, United Kingdom announces 400 Billion $, China announces 394 Billion $, Spain announces 219 Billion $, while Italy announces 49 Billion $.
“India to be under complete lockdown for next 21 days”: said Narendra Modi , he also announces relief package of Rs1500 Billion
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday announced a multi-billion package involving relief for labour and underprivileged class, the stimulus package worth 900 billion rupees ($5.66 Billion) were approved at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and also attended by army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Briefing the media, the Prime Minister talked about immediate measures taken by the government to deal with the coronavirus crisis in the country. “Chaos is more dangerous than coronavirus, if we take any decision in haste it will have dire impact on the society,” he said.
He said the option of lockdown was first discussed after the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting. “I opposed the complete lockdown which is curfew,”
Prime Minister said that, complete shutdown will disrupt the supply of food items and medical equipment, he further said. “This is not a T-20 match and this crisis may continue for six or seven months.”
Later, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) cuts down interest from 12.5% to 11% in a bid to combat growing uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic. With this, the SBP has reduced the rate by a cumulative 2.25 percentage points in one week duration.
PM brief the relief package as
- Labour will be given Rs200 Billion. We will also discuss with the provinces and businesses to accommodate the labourers so they are not rendered jobless.
- During the press briefing, Prime Minister announced, A sum of Rs144 Billion set aside for low income families and for daily wagers, spread across the next four months. They will be given Rs 3,000 on a monthly basis for next four months. He also said that, Ehsaas and Saylani Welfare International Trust (SWIT) have decided to run “Ehsaas-Saylani Langar on Wheels” to deliver cooked food aid to needy people particularly labourers and daily wagers.
- To ensure consistent availability of goods, the government has announced Rs50 Billion for Utility Stores Corporation (USC). The government will also budget for wheat procurement worth Rs280 Billion to the farmers. Farmers will also be able to enjoy lower input costs.
- Prime Minister said that, We will give them Rs100 Billion worth to Export and Industry in the form of tax refunds, so they may spend this on their labour as well. Interest payments have also been deferred. He also said that, Rs100 Billion have been set aside for these industries and their interest payments deferred as well for Small Medium Enterprises (SME). They will be able to make use of concessional loans as well, with low interest rates.
- Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday has announced to reduce petroleum prices by Rs15, due to Global dropping in oil prices and this outbreak
- Taxes on food items will either be abolished or reduced.
- According to Ehsaas program, the Government will extend shelter housing program. Due to this pandemic, there has been a rush on existing shelters. The government will work to enforce measures so that people are screened before being let in. He also announces Rs6 Billion for “Panah Shelter” program.
- Seventy five per cent of the population is said to use 300 units or less of electricity, the PM announced 36 Billion subsidies for those users. These households will be able to pay their bills with a deferred payment plan, over the next three months. Similarly, 81% of gas consumers incur a bill of Rs 2,000 per month. They will also be able to pay in installments over the next three months.
- A sum of Rs50 Billion set aside for the purchase of equipment and all necessary facilitation of medical workers who are at the forefront of the fight against the virus.
- The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will also be granted Rs25 Billion to procure kits, equipments, Ventilators and other items duty free from other countries.
- The prime minister also said that a special sum of Rs100 Billion had been kept for the express purpose of use in an emergency to counter the after effects of the lockdowns.
- Prime Minister said that, “a separate package is being prepared for the construction industry, the likes of which Pakistan has never before seen,".