ISLAMABAD                  -               Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the provision of relief to weaker segments of society, especially, labour and daily-wager class and common people is top priority of the government.

He was chairing a meeting in Islamabad on Monday to review implementation of economic stimulus package announced by government to support economy and economic activities in the country in wake of COVID-19 outbreak. The meeting was briefed that government has announced a stimulus package of 1.2 trillion rupees to support various sectors in view of evolving situation due to coronavirus.

It was also informed that 25 billion rupees have immediately been released to National Disaster Management Authority for prevention of coronavirus, diagnosis and treatment of Corona affected people, whereas 50 billion rupees have been earmarked for procurement of medical equipment and provision of facilities to medical staff.

It was further informed that 15 billion rupees were allocated for rebate in taxes on food items and goods relating to health sector and 10 billion of them have so far been spent. The meeting was briefed that200 billion

rupees were allocated to provide relief to daily wagers, while 150 billion rupees were reserved for weaker segments and shelter homes and this amount has been released. Six billion rupees have been provided to expand the network of shelter homes. The meeting was informed that70 billion rupees have been kept for providing relief to the common people in petrol and diesel.

It was said that 50 billion rupees were reserved for provision of essential items to the people on subsided rates from Utility Stores. The government is providing 100 billion rupees as relief in electricity and gas bills and one hundred billion rupees have been earmarked to provide relief to exporters. Managing Director Utility Stores Corporation gave detailed briefing about stock position at the stores, increase in sale, and preparation regarding upcoming Ramadan.

Imran appeals overseas Pakistanis to donate in ‘PM Relief Fund for COVID-19’

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday appealed the overseas Pakistanis to donate generously in ‘PM Relief Fund for COVID-19’ to cope with the challenge of coronavirus pandemic. In a video message, he said the entire world is struggling against the Corona pandemic, which led to the lockdown.

He said the lockdown has adversely affected the world economy, including Pakistan, resulting in growing poverty across the globe. He said in the wake of growing economic difficulties, we need more money in the relief fund so the overseas Pakistanis should come forward to contribute in this regard.

The Prime Minister said that the United States, with a population of 300 million people, has allocated 2.2 trillion dollars, while Germany and France, having a population of less than Pakistan, earmarked one trillion dollars each to provide a relief to their people.

While on the other hand, Pakistan can only manage just eight billion dollars for the relief fund and in such a situation, we want overseas Pakistanis to donate generously, he added. Imran Khan also expressed the confidence that with the help and cooperation of Pakistani youth, Corona Tiger Force, and overseas Pakistanis we will succeed in the jihad against coronavirus.

Earlier, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari had met PM Imran to discuss the initiative. A special online portal has also been launched, through which expats can easily donate up to $35 or more for Pakistan. The amount can be donated on a monthly basis as well.

Additionally, as a token of appreciation, the authorities have also decided to publish the names of donors on the website to encourage the spirit of generosity and national responsibility.

Pakistan has allocated Rs150 billion to provide relief to those worst affected by the lockdown. A cash grant of Rs12, 000 will be given to over 12 million families across the country after registration and screening under the government’s Ehsaas programme.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan appealed the world leaders, heads of financial institutions, and the United Nations to “launch an initiative that will give debt relief to developing countries to combat the coronavirus.” In a televised address, PM Imran said his appeal came on the back of developing countries’ problems, such as high debt-to-GDP ratios, which Pakistan also faces.

He said that his primary concern was that the poor should not die of hunger due to necessary lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.