ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Monday approved two packages for unemployed daily wage earners and another package for small and medium entrepreneurs.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar announced that the ECC has approved two packages, which would be presented before the Federal Cabinet for approval today (Tuesday).

Addressing a press conference, he said that a package worth Rs75 billion has been approved for the people unemployed due to the coronavirus crisis. Under the programme Rs 12,000 would be distributed among four to six million people, which will be additional to 12 million Ehsaas beneficiaries.

Labourers and daily wagers can get themselves registered by accessing the portal and filling the requisite information there. He said this process can be completed in around three minutes. He said the eligible people will be finalised after applying. The Ehsaas programme, along with the Ministry for Industries and Production, will launch a portal to register those unemployed.

“Under the package, the unemployed will be provided with Rs12,000 in installments,” said the Minister.

The ECC has also approved another package of the PM Programme for small businesses, under which the government will pay their electricity bill for three months. The ECC approved Rs50.69 billion packages to provide indirect cash flow support to the small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) through pre-paid electricity.

The ECC chaired by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh also approved a credit loss subsidy of Rs30 billion for the Risk Sharing Facility for State Bank of Pakistan’s Refinance Scheme to support employment and prevent lay-off of workers.

Under the Rs50.69 billion package titled as ‘ChotaKarobar or Sannat Imadadi Package’ and prepared by the Ministry of Industries and Production with active consultation with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), approximately 95 per cent commercial consumers with connected load up to 5 KW and 72 per cent of industrial consumers with connected load of up to 70 KW would be provided financial support.

Under the scheme, commercial consumers would be given support up to Rs 100,000 and industrial consumers up to Rs 450,000 for three months. The base period for estimating electricity consumption would be May-July 2019 and for meters for which electricity consumption data is not available for the full base period, appropriate average will be used.

 

To avail of the facility under the ‘ChotaKarobar o SannatImadadi Package’, pre-paid electricity bills of three months or total bills during the base period would be required. The period of consumption of the extended financial support would be six months starting from May/June 2020. The ECC also allowed Rs 2.5 billion block allocation to the AJK and GB for disbursement through special arrangement. It further instructed the Ministry of Industries and Production to bring up similar relief packages for the agriculture sector including the agricultural tubewells, as well as transporters and the microfinance sector. 

 

The he ECC on a proposal by the Finance Division also approved a credit loss subsidy of Rs30 billion for the Risk Sharing Facility for State Bank of Pakistan’s Refinance Scheme to support employment and prevent lay-off of workers. Under the scheme, financing would be extended to businesses with maximum sales turnover of Rs 2 billion while the Government of Pakistan would bear 40 per cent first loss on distributed portfolio (principal portion only) for eligible borrowers, in case of repayments, after being classified as “loss” as per classification criteria under the respective SBP Prudential Regulations. The banks and DFIs assigned limits under SBP scheme would be eligible executing agencies.

 

On a proposal by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the ECC accorded in principle approval to the external debt restructuring of the Government of Pakistan by availing the G-20 debt relief and engaging with bilateral donors for individual debt suspension with the proviso that agreements to that effect could be subsequently brought to the ECC for approval.

 

On another proposal by the Ministry of Defence, the ECC also approved allocation of additional funds in the form of technical supplementary grant to the tune of Rs3.02 billion for the fencing of Pak-Iran border.