Rs. 1.2 Trillion Covid-19 Package: Govt Slashes Petrol Prices, Stipends for Millions & More

The government of Pakistan has announced Rs. 1200 billion Economic Relief and Stimulus Package which seeks to provide relief to vulnerable, SMEs and industry and support to the poor.

Addressing a press conference, Prime Minister Imran Khan alongside his senior ministers and advisors said that the coronavirus pandemic was not the real danger, rather the decisions that people took fearing the COVID-19 threat.

“Chaos is more dangerous than coronavirus if we take any decision in haste it will have a dire impact on the society,” said the prime minister.

Prime Minister Imran said he would have imposed curfew immediately if situation in Pakistan was as bad as it is in Italy and rest of the Europe. “But in Pakistan it is not feasible considering number of poor in the country,” he explained.

In a Twitter post, Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar said the package “Seeks to provide relief to vulnerable, support to poor, SMEs [small- and medium-sized enterprises], industry”.

Highlighting the main points of the package, PM Imran said:

  • Petrol and diesel – Petrol, diesel, kerosene and light diesel will see their prices slashed by Rs. 15.
  • Over 1 crore and 20 lac individuals will receive Rs. 3000 for 4 months.
  • Rs. 50 billion have been set aside for utility store corporation
  • Tax refunds of Rs. 100 billion to be disbursed immediately,
  • Principal and interest payments to be deferred
  • SME and Agriculture – Rs. 100 billion and deferred interest payments and concessional loans
  • Expansion of homeless shelters
  • Rs. 50 billion additional funds for Utility Stores
  • Labour will be given Rs. 200 billion. We will also discuss with the provinces and businesses to accommodate the labourers so they are not rendered jobless.
  •  Export and industry – Rs. 100 billion worth of tax refunds will be given — which are usually delayed and given — so they may spend this on their labour as well. Interest payments have also been deferred
  • Small and medium industries –  Rs100 billion have been set aside for these industries and their interest payments deferred as well
  • Expansion of Panah Gah
  •  Electricity and gas – 75% of the population are said to use 300 units or less of electricity. These households will be able to pay their bills with a deferred payment plan, over the next three months. Similarly, 81% of gas consumers incur a bill of Rs. 2,000 per month. They will also be able to pay in instalments over the next three months.
  • A sum of Rs. 50 billion has been set aside for the purchase of  equipment and all necessary facilitation of medical workers.
  • Food items – Taxes on these will either be abolished or reduced.
  • A special sum of Rs. 100 billion had been kept for the express purpose of use in an emergency to counter the after effects of the lockdowns.
  • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will also be granted Rs. 25 billion to procure kits, equipment, and other items from other countries.

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