Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced a new relief package worth 28 billion PKR ($140 million) per month to mitigate the impact of the increase in the prices of petroleum products on the lower-income people of the country.
In a televised address to the nation, Sharif said the relief package will provide around 14 million deserving families with immediate assistance of 2,000 PKR each on monthly basis, reports Xinhua news agency.
The package will provide financial assistance to almost 85 million people which is nearly one-third of the total population of Pakistan, he said.
This relief is in addition to the support already being provided to the under-privileged faction through the framework of Benazir Income Support Program, according to Sharif.
The Prime Minister said that this relief package will be included in the next financial budget.
Sharif said that Utility Stores Corporation throughout the country has been ordered to provide 10 kilograms of flour bags at a subsidized rate of 400 PKR.
The premier also announced to initiate a consultative process to take all the political parties on board in order to ensure smooth implementation of the economic policies.
Pakistan PM Shahbaz Sharif has announced a new relief package worth 28 billion PKR ($140 million) per month to mitigate the impact of the increase in the prices of petroleum products. Though Finance Minister Miftah Ismail in his press talk on May 28 tried to sound sanguine, the truth is that the recent hike in fuel prices has added to the financial woes of the citizens of Pakistan.
While there was no other option left by the previous PTI government for the new dispensation, it must be highlighted that the people of Pakistan have high hopes with each new government.
The ‘Sasta Petrol, Sasta Diesel’ relief package has set certain criteria for the people to avail of it. One good feature of this package is that women whose household income is less than Rs40,000 a month can text their CNIC numbers on 786 or call the number to receive Rs2,000. How this mechanism works is not clear as yet but on the face of it, it sounds good. This new mechanism will be only as successful as the responses to those who try to utilize the package.
. The government must find a way around this mess that the PTI government has left, while also taking care of the fast-depleting government coffers which put the country in such a precarious situation.
The government is hopeful that the IMF will authorize the release of bailout funds, but such funds are only a temporary solution.
What the government needs is a long-term strategy that should also include a reduction in non-productive expenses that are bleeding the national exchequer.
The IMF package is tough, but for now Pakistan has no choice. The key task of the PDM, depending on how long it intends to hold office, will be to write out a feasible and viable economic policy for Pakistan and offer relief to the tens of thousands of people who the government says had been rendered unemployed by Imran. One of the key problems Pakistan has faced over the years is the fact that there has been a complete lack of consistency in economic policy.
Each incoming government brings in its own schemes, its own ideas, its own economic agenda.
This has added to the crisis the country now faces. Pakistan needs consistency and an economic plan that will work. For now, a dole out of Rs2,000 will not go far but is at least a start.
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