Sunday, October 24, 2021

PM announces relief package, youth force, public fund to fight COVID-19

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced multi-billion relief package, establishment of youth force and public fund during his address to the nation to fight coronavirus pandemic across Pakistan, ARY News reported on Monday.

PM Imran Khan said the world is fighting a war against coronavirus pandemic and Pakistan is also resisting the spread of the virus by utilising all available resources.

“Every state is fight coronavirus under its capacity while China is the only country around the world that became successful to overcome coronavirus pandemic by locking down around 20 million people.”

“We can also put our country on a complete lockdown to fight COVID-19 but 25 per cent of Pakistan’s population is already below the poverty line. It would be our responsibility to provide ration to those people after imposing a lockdown, otherwise, the complete closure will not be beneficial.”

“A lockdown will not be a successful option without providing food to the people as the virus would not differentiate between a rich and a poor person.

Read: PM announces corona relief fund, orders release of lockdown detainees

“We have to fight coronavirus with unity and wisdom. In India, a complete lockdown was imposed three days ago but [Indian Prime Minister Narendra] Modi is now seeking apology from its nation for the lockdown decision without a strategy. People will definitely die of hunger if India continues its lockdown.”

“I want to tell my nation that we have to fight this war with a strategy. We will take decision after a proper analysis of the country’s situation. If we lockdown any area than it would be possible or not to provide food among the people.”

The premier said the federal government has announced biggest-ever relief package in the history of Pakistan as its volume is $8 billion.

“Emaan [faith] is our power. Pakistanis are the nation which donates most [around the world] and its young population is the second biggest in the world.”

Read: SAPM rebuts reports of resumption of flights from April 5

“With these two powers, we will win the war against coronavirus. I am announcing [establishment of] Corona Relief Tiger Force that will work alongside with armed forces and civil administration.

PM Khan said the force will be comprised of young doctors, drivers and people from any field which would be utilised to provide food and essential commodities to the areas likely to face lockdown. The force will also guide people for self-isolation inside their houses.

The premier has also announced the establishment of Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund and vowed to present all details of spendings before the nation to maintain transparency. He added that the account, to be established at State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), will be audited for ensuring the transparency measures.

“I cannot say right now to which extent the virus would spread, however, we will give an estimation with five days or a week. If we go for the lockdown of some areas, Tiger Force will distribute ration among the nationals there.”

Read: SBP rolls out relief package for businesses, households

He said that only four to five per cent patients have to move to the hospitals for COVID-19 treatment, whereas, 86 per cent people recover their health from the disease.

He reiterated that a state cannot win the battle against COVID-19 only by using its resources but to adopt a strong strategy to contain the pandemic.

“The money transferred to the government’s relief fund will not be investigated. The funds will be used if the government needs to increase the volume of its financial aid to the nationals.”

Under the relief package, the central bank will provide easy loans to the firms avoiding to unemploy their labourers.

PM Khan clarified that there was no shortage of food commodities in the country and warned strict action by the federal authorities against hoarders.

The premier appealed the nationals to strict adopt precautionary measures and maintain social distancing to overcome the pandemic.

Read: ECC approves PM Imran’s Covid-19 relief package

Prime Minister Imran Khan last week announced a multi-billion package involving relief for labour and underprivileged class, business community and industries and farmers amid shutdown in various parts of the country amid coronavirus pandemic.

The prime minister said that they have earmarked Rs 200 billion for labour class and are also in touch with the provinces and business community to devise a strategy as to how they could facilitate the federal government in the process.

The prime minister announced a Rs 150 billion package for poor segments of the society under which each household would be given Rs 3000 for the next four months. “We are also expanding the sphere of shelter homes and are also setting aside Rs 50 billion for utility store to provide them basic commodity items on lower prices,” Imran Khan said.

The prime minister also announced to lower the fuel prices in the country by Rs 15 per litre other than relief in payments of utility bills that could now be paid in three-month installments.

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