The Express Tribune
Published Date: May 19, 2020
Ishrat Hussain sheds light on Pakistan’s Covid-19 plan
The government has devised and implemented a well-crafted strategy in the wake of Covid-19, enabling the most vulnerable segments of society to absorb economic shocks whereas small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are being given support in order to tackle disruption in economic activities, said Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain.
He was speaking at an online seminar on “Managing economy in the aftermath of Covid-19”, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Monday.
Among others, national and international experts in economy, diplomats, academics and development experts participated in the webinar.
Hussain said the largest cash grant in the history of Pakistan targeting 16 million households across the country was being provided to the most vulnerable groups in the wake of the pandemic.
Almost eight million people living below the poverty line had already benefitted whereas four million more households, which were feared to slip into this category, and four million others, which had lost employment during the crisis, would also be provided the cash grant, he added.
“SMEs are being provided relief through several measures, including the arrangement of subsidy on loans by the government,” he said, adding that measures were also being taken to revive the agriculture sector.
“It’s being done by supporting small farmers and Rs56 billion is being allocated to provide subsidy on agricultural inputs, including seeds and fertilisers,” Hussain said.
The adviser stressed that job creation was another key consideration of the government to respond to the growing unemployment caused in the aftermath of coronavirus.
SDPI Executive Director Abid Qaiyum Suleri said in times of uncertainty about the future at every level, it was important for the people to know about the measures and policies being worked upon by the government to meet the challenges posed by Covid-19. Therefore, he said, “it’s important for all the stakeholders to remain updated about the various policy initiatives being taken by the government to overcome the challenges.”