Govt hopeful of plan to save developing countries in wake of COVID-19
ISLAMABAD-Pakistan has asked World Bank, IMF and G-20 countries to come up with a plan enabling developing countries like Pakistan to not only meet its international obligations but also to provide relief to its population adversely effected by this pandemic.
Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Tuesday said keeping in view the present circumstances, World Bank, IMF and G-20 countries are talking about debt relief without which developing countries will be worst affected. The adviser expressed hope that these forums would be able to come up with a plan enabling developing countries like Pakistan to not only meet its international obligations but also to provide relief to its population adversely effected by this pandemic.
He made these remarks in a meeting with Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Yao Jing. The adviser discussed with the ambassador the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the overall growth of the economy of the country as exports and remittances shall both suffer as the global economies are in recessionary phase. He said that different economies have different levels of strength to deal with the economic losses and the developing countries will be the worst hit by the impact of this slow down.
The adviser welcomed the ambassador and thanked the Chinese government for all the assistance it has provided so far to Pakistan in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. He then shared with the ambassador the details of the Economic Relief Package given by the government of Pakistan to the people whose lives and businesses have been affected by the pandemic. He said that during this difficult time, the government has three major priorities: to provide health care and safety to its people, provide cash assistance to the most vulnerable and keep the wheel of the economy moving in slow but steady pace.
The government has came up with a comprehensive relief package of worth Rs 1.2 trillion, which inter alia includes, Rs 200 billion assistance for workers and labourers, Rs 100 billion for supporting SME and agriculture sector, Rs 107 billion as sales tax refunds and Rs 50 billion income tax refunds from 2014 onward. Moreover, Ehsaas Program through its urgent cash disbursement is taking care of the most vulnerable in the country. Reduction in petrol and diesel prices and deferment of payment of bills are some other significant steps. Incentivizing the construction sector is also an opportunity for those who are in need of work.
The adviser said that Pakistan looks forward to Chinese support in dealing with this unprecedented situation arising because of this pandemic.