Coronavirus In Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan announces special relief package amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
On 24th March, Prime Minister Imran Khan gave a media briefing over the coronavirus outbreak. In said media briefing, the PM announced a “special” relief package for the Pakistani people. According to the PM, this relief package will encompass the needs of people belonging to all walks of life and ESPECIALLY the lower class.
Imran Khan’s Media Briefing On Coronavirus
Beginning of the briefing
The Prime Minister began his briefing as usual, saying; “In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent & Merciful. To Him we worship, to Him we ask for help.” He, then, formally started the address.
He said; assuring the people that the relief package has been thoroughly thought out;
“We’ve been working for past 3 days to devise a stimulus package on how we can save our industries, our businesses, our labors from the adverse affects of this global pandemic. We’ve put a lot of thoughts and efforts into this.”
PM Imran Khan then went on to talk about how coronavirus is not as dangerous as bad decisions made in panic. He also talked about how the elite class gets privilege, how a country’s healthcare reflects it’s condition and discussed the lockdown. After this, the PM explained the details of the special relief package.
Details of the Coronavirus Relief Package
Measures for the labors
The federal government will allocate 200 billion rupees for the labors. It will also remain in touch with the provincial governments regarding labor’s leave amidst this situation.
Export industry’s reliefs
The export industry, being the most affected by this situation, will be given two special reliefs. Firstly, the government will give a Rs. 100 billion worth tax refund to them immediately (Otherwise it’s given after a delay, but in this situation, they will be immediately refunded). Secondly, principal & interest payments are deferred for them. They may pay later.
Allocation for Small & Medium Businesses and Agriculture
For Small & Medium Businesses and Agriculture, the government will allocate 100 billion rupees. The government will also defer interest payment & give them concessional loans. Furthermore, the government will help farmers with their input cost.
Relief for the needy people
For the needy families, the government has come up with a 4 months plan worth Rs. 150 billion. The government will give 3000 rupees to them per month. This will be so they can purchase daily life commodities. The government will also encourage the provinces to help them in this.
Panah Gahs’ expansion
Government will expand Panah Gahs. As of now, they are overcrowded. PM Imran assured that the government has a proper medical checking mechanism to ensure safety & security from coronavirus spread. The government will expand these shelter homes so more people can come, eat and sleep there.
Utility Stores’ grant
The government is giving 50 Billion rupees more to the Utility Stores across the country. This will ensure that the stores have all necessary food staples available for the masses at lower rates.
The government will give 280 Billion for wheat procurement to facilitate farmers. This will ensure that the villages and farmers don’t face adverse effects of the current crisis.
Reducing fuel’s prices
The government is slashing down Rs. 15 on Petrol, Diesel and kerosene to facilitate the people in this tough time.
Government has created a package of Rs. 50 Billion for medical works, to equip them with all the necessary equipment & medications required to treat people.
Relief on payment of bills
For the consumers of 300 units of electricity, the government is introducing 3 months installment system. Similarly households with Rs. 2000 per month bills can pay electric bills in 3 months installments.
Grant to NDMA and reduction of taxes
The government is giving Rs. 25 Billion to NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority). This is so they can arrange testing kits, protective gears and other necessary items to deal with this global pandemic. The government also is reducing or waving off taxes from food commodities such as Oil, Sugar, pulses etc.
Ending of the briefing
Prime Minister Imran Khan ended the briefing by assuring the people that the government has kept Rs. 100 Billion. For any unforeseen situation, this will help them in catering the needs of the people.
He finally ended the briefing on this note;
“2019 has been the toughest year in my entire life. The country was on the brink of bankruptcy. No decision is taken without my approval. So, for all decisions in Pakistan, I’m the one to be held responsible.”
You can watch the entire briefing here yourself: