Breaking: Rs 1.2 Trillion Economy Relief Package Announced to Tackle COVID-19
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday announced Rs. 1,200 billion Economic Relief and Stimulus Package aimed at supporting various sectors of society and the economy in absorbing the adverse impacts of coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a news conference, the prime minister gave details of the multi-sectoral package put together by the federal government and said the provinces had also been asked to chip in with their funds to support troubled sections of economy.
During an interaction with media persons, the prime minister said the government had decided to allocate Rs 200 billion for the labor class, which had been hit hard in the difficult times.
To help the industrial sector and especially the export sector, it was decided to release tax refunds amounting to Rs100 billion, besides deferring of the interest payment to bolster the sector, he added.
For the small and medium industry, and agriculture sector, another amount of Rs 100 billion was set aside with deferred interest payment, the prime minister said, adding concessional loans would also being extended to the sectors. The government wanted to bring down the input costs for the farmers.
Other packages, he said, included additional amount of Rs 50 billion for the Utility Stores, Rs 280 billion for the wheat procurement, and slashing of petrol and diesel prices by Rs15 per liter for which the government would have to bear the burden of Rs75 billion. An amount of Rs100 billion was allocated separately for the emergency situation, he added.
The prime minister said power consumers using 300 units and gas users with Rs 2,000 monthly bills would be facilitated to deposit their bills through three monthly installments. A sum of Rs 50 billion was also allocated for the medical staff. The National Disaster Management Authority would get Rs 25 billion for purchase and procuring of kits, he announced.
Imran Khan said for the vulnerable families who were bearing the brunt of the difficult time, it was decided to allocate an amount of Rs 150 billion for a period of four months.
He said they were also expanding the network of Panagah (shelter homes) where the precautionary measures had been strictly practiced.
Besides, he said, it was decided to either completely cut taxes or reduce them on different edible items. For the construction industry, the government would announce a separate package within days, which, he promised, had never been witnessed in the country’s history.
Reiterating that the country could not afford a complete lockdown with the imposition of curfew, the prime minister said the situation in the country so far did not warrant for resorting to that last step.
The prime minister while differentiating between the lockdown and curfew, also shared his concerns that the evolving situation of the COVID-19 outbreak could stretch over to six months. “Whatever decisions the government take, I am fully responsible for them. All the economic decisions are being taken with consensus of my economic team,” he added.