ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday approved a multi-billion rupee relief package for different segments of society who are vulnerable to the adverse impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the country’s economy.
The package was approved in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Khan at the Prime Minister Office.
A source privy to the meeting told Dawn that under the package the monthly stipend of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has been increased from Rs2,000 to Rs3,000.
The meeting was attended by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Adviser to the PM on Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser to the PM on Textile and Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood and chairpersons of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA).
Governor of State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir and the finance ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht and Taimur Saleem Khan, also took part in the meeting through video link.
BISP monthly stipend to be increased from Rs2,000 to Rs3,000
The source said it had been decided that the funds of the government’s much ambitious Ehsaas programme would be distributed among the poor according to the available data of the BISP and through the under progress National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) of the BISP.
It has also been learnt that not only the amount, but also the number of beneficiaries has been increased under the PM’s relief package.
Presently, the total number of BISP beneficiaries is said to be 5.2 million.
According to the PM Office, the overall economic situation of the country was discussed in the backdrop of the adverse impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The meeting reviewed different options for protecting the poor and low-income segments of society from the outbreak’s adverse impact on the economy.
Speaking on the occasion, PM Khan said that due to present situation the government would go to any extent to protect weak segments of society.
Talking about provision of basic food items to the poor, he directed the authorities concerned to take necessary measures so that no one could take advantage of the situation by involving in wrong practices, such as hoarding. “There should not be any interruption in supply of food items in markets,” he was quoted as saying.
Talking to Dawn after the meeting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said under the package approved by the prime minister, poor and low income groups would be provided monetary assistance through Ehsaas programme.
PM’s spokesperson Nadeem Afzal Chan said in a TV programme that members of National Assembly have their own data regarding poor and low-income groups in their constituencies and they could reach them to provide monetary assistance.
Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2020