ISLAMABAD - PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari yesterday urged the federal government to equally distribute relief funds received from the international institutions among the provinces,

The PPP leader demanded fair distribution of benefits from the relief received from various financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the G20 countries.

“Federal government should also reduce its expenditures and give extra money to the provinces instead of cuts in their share,” he said while chairing a meeting of the party’s economic committee through video link, which was attended by Raza Rabbani, Syed Naveed Qamar, Shazia Marri, Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed and others.

The meeting termed the economic relief package of the federal government as inadequate and demanded that the amount for the unemployed be increased from Rs 12,000 to Rs 17,500 under the minimum wage scheme.

The PPP Chairman said that in an extraordinary situation, it was the duty of the federal government to extend utmost assistance to the provinces. Federal governments across the globe are extensively helping their provincial governments.

Bilawal said that the federal government should increase health facilities in all the provinces and conduct fair distribution of international aid in the wake of corona-virus pandemic. “Federation should reduce its expenditure and give extra money to the provinces instead of cutting their allocated funds. Federal government should also allow the provinces to benefit from the relief received from various International Financial Institutions, including the IMF, the World Bank and the G20 countries,” he added.

Earlier, Committee member Syed Naveed Qamar brief the meeting that foreign aid is being disbursed at personal wealth. Bilawal said that it was not correct to state that under the 18th Amendment health is solely a responsibility of the provinces, who are already working beyond their means and resources adding that in extraordinary situations, central governments are extending support to their provinces the world over.

He demanded that the small traders should be assisted with quick relief packages and through tax relaxations, soft loans on easy terms and other concessions.

Farmers, he said, are also looking to the federal government, and in this situation, they should be given relief packages as well, in the form of fertilizer subsidy and electricity bills.

The situation of locust was also discussed in the meeting and the meeting was informed that the risk of locust attack is looming on agriculture crops once again. PPP Chairman urged the federal government to come up with a comprehensive plan keeping in view the dangers posed by locusts on ready crops in fields.

He said that at the moment, there is dire need to focus immediately on food security, as it will be the biggest problem for the country in near future. Pre-emptive measures are needed for food supply, storage and consumption, he added.