ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said the government had formulated a comprehensive strategy to pull poor and weaker segments of society out of poverty through wealth creation and improving purchasing power of people.
Presiding over a meeting of Kamyab Pakistan Programme, he cited the examples of China and India and said unlike India which had failed, China had successfully steered millions of people out of poverty during the last 30 years.
“Besides extending financial assistance to the downtrodden segments of the society, the government’s foremost priority is to make the people economically self-reliant,” he added In an informal briefing, an adviser to the prime minister told media persons that the government could not diminish inflation but it was taking steps to improve purchasing power of common man. “We cannot bring down the prices to their previous place, but we can improve purchasing power of the people so that inflation may not affect them,” he said.
Prime Minister Khan said the government had taken a number of steps to improve purchasing power of people as a hefty amount Rs1.1 trillion had been given to the farmers and agriculture sector in the form of subsidies that was benefitting 70 per cent population of the country living in rural areas.
The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Special Assistants to the PM Waqar Masood and Usman Dar, Naya Pakistan Housing Authority chairman retired Lt Gen Anwar Ali Haider, Habib Bank chairman Sultan Ali Alana, Punjab Bank president Zafar Masood and senior officials concerned and stakeholders.
Imran opens Ehsaas One Window Centre
The meeting was briefed about the Kamyab Business, Kamyab Kissan and Kamyab Hunarmand programmes and whole-sale lending for low-cost housing schemes under Kamyab Pakistan Housing project in Kamyab Pakistan Programme.
On the instructions of the prime minister, the government has brought all youth-related programme under the umbrella of Kamyab Pakistan Programme.
The meeting was told that Kamyab Pakistan Programme would play an important role in enhancing economic activities in the country and making people self-dependent in terms of employment.
Under the programme, applicants will be provided business, low-cost housing and agricultural loans at large scale, which will not only provide job opportunities but, besides promoting business activities, will also help alleviate poverty, boost GDP growth and strengthen banking sector.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said in a statement that all high-frequency data showed improvement in the economy and growth rate was being estimated at about 3.94 per cent.
He said the PTI government inherited an elevated level of debt servicing of over $10 billion per year caused mainly due to enhanced external borrowing ($49.76bn), particularly short-term and expensive commercial loans ($17bn) by the PML-N government.
During the current fiscal year, the government had to repay about $10.36bn on account of external loans, including principal and interest payments, while expected inflows were estimated at $14.37bn, he added.
“During the first 10-months of FY2020-21, the government has repaid $7.52bn, including $6.31bn as principal and $1.21bn as interest payments. In order to discharge its various obligations, the government borrowed $10.5bn as programme and project loans in the same period. Thus, the net inflow of external loans is $2.98bn. In addition, the government also repaid $2bn to Saudi Arabia during the current fiscal. Hence, the actual net inflows further decreased to $0.98 billion only,” the minister said.
Ehsaas One Window Centre
Prime Minister Khan inaugurated the first Ehsaas One Window Center here on Wednesday. The centre aims to provide services related to all components of the Ehsaas programme to the poor at one platform.
Soon such centres would be opened across all districts of the country, said Special Assistant to the PM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar.
“This is the basis of a welfare state,” the prime minister said as Dr Nishtar briefed him on the centre offering 20 services under the Ehsaas programme.
The services include Ehsaas Hunar, Ehsaas Utility Store, Langar Khana, Waseela Taleem, Ehsaas Nashonuma, ATM for payment to Ehsaas Kafalat beneficiaries, One Woman One Account, Ehsaas Tahaffuz, Ehsaas Wifi Café, Ehsaas Scholarship, Ehsaas interest-free loans and Nadra office for biometric verification.
The prime minister, after unveiling the plaque, took a round of the centre and interacted with the Ehsaas programme beneficiaries and the officials. He also planted a sapling on the premises of the centre At the Utility Store set up inside the center, the prime minister was apprised of how it would facilitate the needy people.
During the briefing, Dr Sania told the prime minister that the One Window Center had multiple pillars including Ehsaas Digital, mobile application, back office and beneficiary policy.
She said the nationwide survey was 91 per cent complete that, after integration, would be accessible to all Ehsaas organs to enable them to ascertain the eligibility and needs of an applicant.
She said earlier there was a discrepancy in the process as the agencies were using varying eligibility methods and influential families were availing the benefits while deserving people were deprived of their rights.
She said earlier the registration of disabled persons was a difficult and lengthy procedure but the database would make it easier and enable the agencies concerned to know their needs like wheel chair.
Dr Sania said through One Window Digital, the frequently asked questions of the people regarding scholarships, loans etc. would be responded in simple Urdu.
Moreover, the mobile application would enable the people to locate the nearest Panahgah or Langar Khana.
The prime minister said education scholarship being offered by the provincial and federal governments should be consolidated at a single database for the benefit of students.
Moreover, he said the database to be developed on the basis of the nationwide survey would help the government know who was receiving Zakat.
He said the database would also enable the government to extend direct subsidy to the needy people to enable them to purchase commodities at reduced rates through Utility Stores.
Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2021