KARACHI: Expressing concern over the state of economy and growing poverty in the country, speakers participating in a discussion held as part of the e-launch of a book on Friday suggested a number of policy measures that could help poor households cope with the Covid-19 shock which, they feared, may push 45.5 million additional individuals below the poverty line.

The event was organised by the department of economics of Institute of Business Administration (IBA).

Titled Policy Response during Challenging Times: Insights from the Federal Budget 2020-21 and the Way Forward, the book is authored by Dr S. Akbar Zaidi, Dr Asma Hyder, Dr Qazi Masood, Dr Muhammad Sabir, Dr Waliullah, Dr Adnan Haider, Dr Aadil Nakhoda and Asif Iqbal.

Sharing their projected estimates on growing poverty, the speakers pointed out that even the medium-level impact during the pandemic would push 45.5m additional individuals below the poverty line, with the total number of the poor approaching 94.6m (41.4pc of the total population).

At the provincial level the worst situation — in terms of the percentage of poor population — is projected in Balochistan (68.9pc), followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (49.8pc), Sindh (44.4pc), and Punjab (34.5pc).

Dr S. Akbar Zaidi emphasised the need for an innovative policy stance which should be opted to support households from different socioeconomic classes during this difficult time.

He expressed concern about an expected increase in inequality and a decline in socioeconomic indicators due to the Covid-19 shock.

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2020

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