ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday approved the economic relief package aimed to counter the overall effect of novel coronavirus on the poor and industrial sector in the wake of suspension of trade activities across the country.
The decision was taken during a meeting of government’s economic team which met under the chairmanship of PM Imran on Monday.
The premier was briefed on the current economic situation in the wake of coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Expressing satisfaction over the availability of food items and other commodities of daily use, PM Imran approved the economic relief package according to which Rs3,000 would be given to seven million daily wagers monthly.
The premier also approved a Rs200 billion relief package for the exporters.
PM Imran will announce a tax incentive for the construction industry on Tuesday (today).
He directed the authorities concerned to keep a vigilant eye on the entire situation saying the poor and the under-privileged should not suffer due to the prevailing circumstances.
On Sunday, Adviser to the PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh met Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar to discuss and finalise the contours of the special relief package.
To facilitate the poor, a mobile kitchen soup facility has been launched under the government’s flagship poverty alleviation Ehsas programme.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar inaugurated the first ‘Ehsas-Saylani Langar on Wheels’ unit at the Faizabad bus station, the junction of twin cities Islamabad-Rawalpindi.
Ehsas and the Saylani Welfare International Trust (SWIT) have joined hands to run the facility through which cooked food would be provided to the needy, particularly labourers and daily-wage workers.
Mobile vans aimed to combat hunger will discourage people from congregating at one spot for free food collection and will serve at various points in cities including public places, impoverished neighbourhoods and hospitals while explicitly ensuring dignity and social distance for the safety of people.
As people are at the risk of small income generating opportunities due to the pandemic emergency in the country, this food aid concept will be stretched out soon to a bigger, better and faster scale across all major cities of Pakistan as part of the Ehsas framework.
“Feeding the poor and deserving is central to the prime minister’s vision of a welfare state. Ehsas realizes that the viral outbreak has exacerbated an escalating poverty that will affect labourers and daily-wage workers the most, as people are being bound to stay at homes,” Dr Sania said.
“The Ehsas-Saylani Langar on Wheels will not only address the hunger and nutritional needs of the impoverished, but also provide us with an opportunity to connect with them, respond to their requirements and educate them about precautionary guidelines to fight the war against coronavirus.”
Last year in October, Prime Minister Imran Khan had launched the Ehsas-Saylani Langar initiative to provide free food to the poor, laborers and homeless across the country.
Since then, several Ehsas-Saylani Langars have been opened and several others are under construction to feed the poor.
Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the Langar on Wheels initiative will expand its capacity through public-private partnership to distribute food by removing barriers that prevent access to underserved areas and will allow for fast and flexible delivery in line with precautionary protocols