PM’s direct subsidy initiative, a panacea for poverty eradication

LAHORE, May 02: Global Economic Indicators show that so far coronavirus has reduced global economic growth to an annualised rate of -4.5 per cent to 6.0 per cent during the last fiscal year, with a slight recovery of 2.5 to 5.2pc projected for the year 2021.

Likewise, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) statistics reveal that global trade is estimated to have fallen by 5.3pc in 2020, but is projected to grow by 8.0pc in 2021.

Including the United States, COVID-19 has so far spread to over 200 countries, affecting whole global economic growth negatively, beyond anything experienced in nearly a whole century.

Major huge and digital economies, comprising 60pc of global economic activity, would be operating below their expected potential output levels, till at least 2024.

The International Labour Organisation findings, recently published in various journals, indicate that 95 million people around the globe entered extreme poverty in 2020, while 80 million population globally remained undernourished, as compared to the pre-pandemic levels.

However, situation in Pakistan has been saved from turning into serious crisis due to prudent policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government during the past one year. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s result-oriented efforts and initiatives have started showing positive results, and his concrete policies are not only steering the country out of financial, social and political crises but also eradicating poverty from the country.

The prime minister recently said in Lahore that during the last six years, poverty in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) had been reduced significantly under the PTI government. He explained the biggest project, in the pipeline currently: direct subsidy to the destitute strata, which would be provided to the poor families. He said that 100pc data statistics of the families had been received.

The PM, while replying to a query about the critics who question his government’s intention of establishing the country similar to Riasat-e-Madina (state of Madina), said that it will take time, but assured that Pakistan was moving in right direction.

To eradicate poverty from the country, the government has launched a historic Emergency Cash Programme through direct cash transfers to the under-privileged women amid the prevailing situation of COVID-19 pandemic.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lauded the PTI government, while predicting recovery in Pakistan’s economy during the financial year 2021-22.

In a report titled “Policy Actions Taken by Countries,” an IMF representative said that gradual recovery is being witnessed in Pakistan’s economy during the FY 2021-22, as the government is making serious efforts in reopening the economy.

The report highlighted the positive measures taken by the PTI government to contain spread of COVID-19.

According to the report, since April 2020, the federal government, in coordination with all provinces, had gradually eased lockdown, allowing low risk industries to restart working and small retail shops to reopen with the implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Chairperson BISP, Dr Sania Nishtar said that at present, the emergency cash programme was providing Rs 12,000 each to more than 15 million deserving families (women).

The PTI government, since 2018, has been playing an impressive role to curtail poverty in the country through various initiatives, relief packages and coordinated efforts, she added.

The government has taken urgent and special initiatives for supporting the needy and poor segments of society. A relief package worth Rs 1.2 trillion has been announced by the federal government, which is being implemented currently, it added. The report mentions solid measures taken by the federal and all provincial governments to ease economic impact of the pandemic.

These measures include elimination of import duties on cash transfers to 6.2 million daily-wage labourers worth Rs 75 billion, emergency health equipment, cash transfers to more than 12 million under-privileged families worth 150 billion rupees.

Similarly, financial support to agriculture sector and the Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) worth Rs 100 billion in the form of bank lending, deferment of power bills and subsidies and various tax incentives, it revealed.

Since the beginning of the pandemic crisis, the provincial governments have also implemented supportive fiscal measures, consisting of cash grants to the daily-wage workers and low-income households, the IMF report further added.


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