Monday Mar 23, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar said Monday relief and stimulus packages were set to be announced tomorrow (Tuesday) as the Pakistani economy feels the heat of the coronavirus pandemic with businesses remaining closed in various parts of the country.
In a Twitter post, Azhar said the federal government's economic team was working on "an economic relief and stimulus package that shall be announced tomorrow".
The federal minister said the Prime Minister's Office, members of the Cabinet, and representatives of various government divisions had worked to finalise the proposals for the upcoming package. They put in efforts "tirelessly over the past days to work out proposals and take decisions", he added.
"The objectives of the Economic Relief and Stimulus package is to provide relief to vulnerable segments, to prevent job losses, encourage smooth supply of essential goods at reasonable prices, support businesses and stimulate the economy," Azhar said.
A day prior, The News had reported citing top official sources that Prime Minister Imran Khan was likely to announce a multisectoral relief package amid the coronavirus outbreak that has started to dent different sectors of the economy.
This was based on the windfall gain — worth $5-8 billion — on account of the reduced international oil prices, which gave the government a cushion to pass the benefit on to the consumers. The premier's finance adviser, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, on Saturday had held discussions with various stakeholders to finalise the salient features of a proposed fiscal package.
The sources had confirmed that the government decided in principle that it would not seek any additional funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from its allocated additional resources of $50 billion but would regardless approach the financial body for convincing with regard to tax breaks and subsidies under the proposed fiscal stimulus package.