QUETTA: Balochistan Finance Secretary Noorul Haq Baloch on Sunday said the provincial cabinet had decided to distribute Rs760 million among the poor throughout the province.
“The supply of rations to deserving people is very important. In the cabinet meeting, it was decided that Rs760 million would be distributed among the needy in all districts of Balochistan,” he stated.
Baloch added that the government of Balochistan has also taken stringent measures to tackle the impact of the global outbreak of coronavirus on the economy. “Funds have been allocated for the procurement and construction purpose, Department of Health and PDMA are engaged in procurement of required equipment.
He said that the chief minister had directed that the funds should not be reduced. “Coronavirus has impacted the global economy. Balochistan will surely have implications too. In this regard, steps will be taken in keeping with the direction of the CM," Baloch said.
The finance secretary went on to add that Balochistan has an informal economy and the formal economy stems from our services sector. “The second category is agriculture which accounts for 30% of the total GDP and 40% of the people's employment is related to agriculture.”
Baloch maintained that the mines and mineral sector contributes the most to the provincial economy which is certainly affected by this outbreak. “But in this regard, the Balochistan government has a cohesive strategy, which is to be followed. Measures will be taken at three levels, which include immediate, medium-term and long-term strategies.”
He also said, "Apart from this, Balochistan border is also concerned with the economy, especially Iran and Afghanistan. The borders have affected the businesses of the people and many among the 1.6 million workers in Balochistan have lost their jobs.”
The finance secretary said that decision pertaining to micro finance interest free loans in collaboration with the Akhuwat. “We are launching a programme in some districts in which the public will be provided with debt free loans and it is estimated that 25,000 to 30,000 young people will benefit from the programme.”
Baloch said that a Rs2 billion Zakat fund cash plan is being introduced in which we will reach about 119,000 families and 32,000 beneficiaries will be paid very soon. A fund of Rs210 million will be kept for poor patients so that they can be treated well and with the result of all plans and strategies, we will be able to facilitate people of this province.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2020.