ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday formally launched the disbursement process of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme specifically for the people who have been rendered jobless due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown in the country. The cash is being provided for the Ehsaas programme from the PM’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.
Premier Imran monitored the cash distribution process at the Ehsaas cash distribution site set up in the Pakistan Sports Complex. He was accompanied by Sania Nishtar, his special assistant on poverty alleviation and Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar.
Ehsaas Emergency Cash aims at providing financial support to those who have lost their jobs during the Coronavirus Pandemic. So far, more than Rs. 3 Billion has been collected through PM’s COVID Relief Funds which will be utilised to facilitate the initiative.@Ehsaas_Pk#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/SLAmGsIBp9— Prime Minister's Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) May 18, 2020
The first batch of the people, who lost their jobs, were given Rs12,000 each.
The prime minister inquired from different people about the financial impacts in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. A number of people apprised him of their issues and expressed gratitude for the financial support through the cash programme.
“The government has taken different decisions to continue economic activities and has opened different sectors,” Imran said.
Nishtar briefed the prime minister about the whole process.
The SAPM told the first batch of beneficiaries that the country was passing through difficult times and assured the government’s support to the vulnerable segments of society. She urged the people to adopt precautionary measures.
She elaborated on the process for identification of beneficiaries and payments through PM’s Covid-19 Relief Fund and said: “The existing principles and processes for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursement will be fully implemented. Rule-based controls will be fully adhered to. Data analytics have been adopted for the selection of beneficiaries.”
Over Rs104 billion distributed under Ehsaas Cash Emergency Programme
She said, “The identification system will be fully apolitical and free of human interference. Payments will be done after biometric verification. There will be full transparency in disbursement of funds.”
In the interest of transparency, the officials said, “Bank disbursement and withdrawal details on tehsil level will be made public under a separate Category IV and will be posted on the website.
“Tehsil-wise number of beneficiaries, bank disbursement details, accounts credited, and money withdrawn will be posted on a real-time basis.”
As many as 3.4 million applications have been received through the Ehsaas Labour Portal since the PM launched it on May 2, 2020.
So far, more than Rs3 billion has been parked in the PM Covid-19 Fund and the pledges continue to be materialised.
The prime minister had committed that for each rupee donated by the donors, four rupees would be committed by the government. In the interest of transparency, details about the disbursement and withdrawal details will be made public.
Abdul Razzaq, an affected driver of Bara Kahu, said that he was jobless for more than two months and expressed his gratitude to the government for the financial support.
Shahida, a female tailor from Rawalpindi, also expressed her satisfaction over the cash support and praised the prime minister for the initiative.
When the portal came online, the PM had announced that the donations he was receiving in the PM’s Covid-19 Relief Fund would be used to give Ehsaas Emergency Cash to the deserving people.
The prime minister committed that for each rupee donated by the donors, Rs4 will be committed by the government.
On May 3, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar had apprehended that around 18 million people could lose their jobs in the country because of the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“According to the calculations of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics [PIDE], between 20 million and 70 million people in the country might fall below the poverty line,” he had said while addressing a press briefing at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Covid-19.
Earlier, a government-owned institution working under the Ministry of Industries and Production had found in a survey that 95% of enterprises admitted to have experienced a reduction in production, work activity and contracts due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The survey of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) had stated that 51.6% of enterprises reported that Covid-19 outbreak affected up to 100% of their operations; whereas 22.6% reported up to 100% loss in export orders.
SMEDA has launched an online survey titled ‘Impact of Covid-19 on SMEs’ on April 3, 2020 until April 14, 2020, in which 920 businesses participated.