At least 1.3m people could lose their jobs if lockdown extended to 45 days: KP govt report

Published April 19, 2020
Labourers wait for work in Swat's Mingora Bazaar. — Dawn/File
Labourers wait for work in Swat's Mingora Bazaar. — Dawn/File

A report by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government's Planning and Development Department has revealed that as many as 1.3 million could lose their jobs if a 45-day lockdown was put in place, warning that at least 460,000 people working as daily wagers and street vendors were set to lose their employment with "immediate effect".

The report, released on Sunday, highlighted the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the province's economy.

While estimating layoffs caused due to the lockdown in place to stop the spread of the pandemic, the report noted that "daily wage workers, paid worker by piece rate or work performed, paid non-family apprentice and street vendors" were highly vulnerable to the economic impact of coronavirus.

The report also predicted that the growth of KP's economy would decrease from 3.73 per cent in 2019 to 2.9pc this year, while the gross domestic product (GDP) would go down from Rs13,35,942 million to Rs13,16,160m.

Some 1.3 million jobs could be lost amid outbreak

The report also predicted that overall, some 1.3 million jobs could be lost during a 45-day lockdown. The highest losses would be seen in the transportation and storage sectors with a predicted loss of some 359,393 jobs while construction, manufacturing and wholesale sectors would also be highly affected with job losses of some 295,594, 258,664 and 216,252 respectively.

The number of jobs lost could increase even more if the lockdown was extended, the report warned, estimating that some 2.7m jobs would be lost if the lockdown was extended to a six-month period while some 4.2m jobs would be lost if the lockdown remained in place for an year.

However, the report observed that there would be "minimal impact" on the province's agricultural sector.

KP govt announces mechanisms to mitigate impact

The report titled Coping Strategy: Mitigating Adverse Impact of Covid-19 on the Economy and Job Market in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also laid out the provincial government's mechanisms to deal with the impact.

According to the report, some 1.5 million families in the province will benefit from the federal government's Ehsaas Cash Disbursement Programme through which they would get Rs12,000 every month.

The report voiced apprehension that the Covid-19 pandemic would also "render vulnerable" those people who do not fall under the federal government's cash distribution programme criteria. The government would therefore form a committee at the Village Council level that would identify vulnerable families who would receive Rs6,000 from the government.

Certain sectors would also be exempted from tax payments, the report said. Construction, wholesale, retail and transport sectors would be eligible to benefit from these tax exemptions.

The government would also adopt a moratorium on loan payments for three months to "allow business higher liquidity to the most affected small and medium enterprises" while "mark-up due for the quarter ending 31 March would have to be paid by 15 June instead of 15 April".

The government would also pay advance salaries to officers from grade 1 to 17 to "sustain demand" if needed.

The report added that the government would also consider deferral of payment of utility bills for three months to help support small businesses and shopkeepers.

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