By Dr. Saeed Ahmed Ali
LAHORE, May 30 (APP):The novel coronavirus pandemic outbreak has triggered huge losses to the global economies by shaking political, socio-economic, religious and financial structures around the world.
Since the first diagnosed case of the COVID-19, the deadly virus has spread to over 190 countries and the epidemic is still spreading rapidly in other countries.
World’s top most economies including US, China, Japan, France, UK, Germany, Italy, and many others are at the verge of collapse. The situation has been worsen as the world stock markets have been pounded while oil prices have fallen off a cliff.
Prime Minister Imran khan, in his keynote speech via video link at World Economic Forum (WEF) has said that in Pakistan, 25 million people earn daily wages and due to lockdown they went out of jobs and the government came up with immediate emergency cash transfers.
“So far, we have given cash handouts to 15 million families to mitigate immediate risks of lockdown,” the Prime Minister said.
Meanwhile, a document of the Asian development Bank (ADB) revealed that a total of 24.3 percent population of Pakistan was living below the poverty line, while 3.9 percent of employed-class has the purchasing capacity up to $1.90.
The coronavirus lockdown and restrictions have severely affected low-income class in a country where low income people earn on average less than $2 a day, the World Bank statistics observed.
To overcome poverty and boost economic growth in the coronavirus situation, the PTI government has pursued an unprecedented initiative to re-activate construction industry, which is considered as the ‘mother of all industries,’ sharing the biggest contribution to the economy both at national and international levels.
To tackle the dual challenge of coronavirus and poverty, the government has established National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) which is streamlining the working of government in relief operations and playing a vital role in fighting with the COVID-19.
Leading forums and economists are warning the world by indicating a global economic recession as daily wage workers were being ousted from their jobs, amid factories closure and healthcare systems had become overwhelmed.
The spokesperson of Punjab government Musarrat Cheema while talking to APP said that the PTI government had adopted a dual and comprehensive road map by giving a mammoth stimulus package of 1.2 trillion rupees, to provide cushion and support to the marginalized segments of the society, amid COVID-19.
She said that the government has given unprecedented stimulus package including 480 billion rupees for the exporters and business community, while 570 billion rupees relief to the citizens.
Similarly under Ehsaas programme, 104 billion rupees have so far been disbursed amongst the daily wagers and deserving families, she said.
It may be mentioned here that government has announced to launch cash assistance programme which would be executed shortly, in the most transparent and efficient manner.
PTI MPA Muhammad Hanif Patafi told APP that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was striving hard to facilitate the needy strata of the country, adding that government was further strengthening and setting up new hospitals and quasi-hospital facilities to accommodate and treat the COVID-19 patients.
He said that it was top priority of the government to ensure the supply of edibles and of essential commodities during the lockdown, adding that partially, the public transport and train services have also been reopened on the condition that the transporters will strictly follow the SOPs.
Patafi said that Prime Minister Imran khan was personally looking into the COVID-situation and all provinces have been taken on board to cope with the situation arising out of the pandemic, adding the government has provided personal protective equipment (PPE) to the hospitals of all federating units in the country.
It merits a mention here that that Prime Minister Imran Khan had launched the Tele-Health Portal aiming at providing a free medical consultation platform for patients to access doctors on mobile phones.
The portal facility would help patients get medical advice-facility from expert doctors without leaving their homes in a safe environment, in the wake of coronavirus pandemic control.
Meanwhile, a document of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme revealed that so far, an amount of Rs. 65.249 billion had been disbursed among 5.437 million deserving families across the country, under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program Category 2 and 3.