Hefty Rs. 1.2 trillion relief package



ISLAMBAD: The govt on Monday approved hefty Rs 1.2 trillion fiscal stimulus package with a view to helping mainly those affected by COVID 19 impacts.

The package was announced during a meeting chaired by Dr. Hafeez Shaikh and approved by the Cabinet.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his speech on the national hook-up said the package would help the poor people make their both ends meets.

He further said all our efforts would be made to reach out to those who really need govt support.

He also called upon the philanthropists to come forward and help people for this was the best time to serve their fellow countrymen.

Earlier, adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired a special meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet.

ECC approved Supplementary Grant of Rs. 100 billion for the”Residual/Emergency Relief Fund” in terms of article 84(a) of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan for provision of funds for mitigating the affect of COVID-19.

The special Package for providing relief to the poor through cash assistance under the Ehsaas Program was also approved by the ECC. The package shall provide cash grants to 12 million families under the regular “kafalat program” and Emergency Cash Assistance on the recommendation of the district administration. The assistance will be provided for four months and besides the BISP beneficiaries it will be one time dispensation, the cash will be provided either in one installment of Rs 12000 through Kafalat partner banks i.e Bank Alfalah and Habib Bank Limited after biometric verification or it may be provided in two installments of Rs. 6000/- each.

After Ministry of Industries and Production presented a comprehensive proposals regarding the targeting parameters , implementation mechanism, cash assistance per family per month and financial phasing of the program, ECC approved Rs. 200 billion of cash assistance for the daily wagers working in the formal industrial sector and who had been laid off as a result of COVID-19 outbreak. It was estimated that around three million workers will fall in this category and they will have to be paid a minimum wage of Rs.17500 per month.

ECC approved Rs. 50 billion for Utility Stores Corporation to provide essential food items to the vulnerable section of the society at subsidized rates. USC has prepared an initial plan to deliver 9 essential food items @ Rs 3000 for a family of 2+4 people through Pakistan Post Foundation Logistics Division. USC has further planned to procure essential items within 2-3 weeks. it was  directed that USC may engage with BISP to obtain data for targeted assistance and again come back to the ECC for a detailed proposal for reaching out to the poor families for the effective use of this package before making any expenditure from this amount.

ECC also approved Rs.75 billion for FBR to enable them to payback the sales tax and income tax refunds, duty drawbacks and customs duties which is due for the last 10 years. The amount shall help approximately 676055 beneficiaries by improving their liquidity position.

ECC also allowed to reduce different taxes and duties on import and supply of different food items for alleviating the adverse impact of COVID -19 on different sections of the society. Rate of advance tax on the import of different pulses was reduced to 0% from 2%. individuals and associations of persons providing tea, spices, dry milk and salt to USC without a brand name will pay 1.5% withholding tax instead of 4.5%. Individuals and AoP receiving payments from USC for supplying ghee, sugar, pulses, and wheat flour shall be charged 1.5% withholding tax instead of 4.5% earlier. ACD (additional customs duty) @ 2% on soya bean oil, canola oil, palm oil and sunflower oil (and on these four oil seeds) has also been exempted.