ECC approves Rs1,200bn coronavirus relief package

Web Desk
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The Economic Coordination Committee on Monday approved the Rs1,200 billion economic relief package announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan last week.

The meeting of the committee was chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh. The package was given the final shape so it can be presented before the cabinet for approval when it meets tomorrow.

According to a notification, a Rs100bn emergency fund has been set up to deal with the impact of the pandemic. It was also agreed to provide 20.2 million people Rs12,000 on a monthly basis for four months via the Ehsaas Kifalat Programme. 

These funds will be disbursed through finger-printing by two private banks. Rs72 billion will be provided through the Benazir Income Support Programme. 

Rs200 billion have been allocated for daily wage earners and labourers. The Federal Bureau of Revenue has been tasked to issue Rs75bn in tax refunds. 

As per the package, the 2% tax on import of pulses has been abolished and the withholding tax rate on spices, dry milk and salt supplies has been set at 1.5% for utility stores. 

Withholding tax on sugar, pulses and wheat suppliers has been kept at 1.5%. The council approved Rs30bn for textile exporters as payment of duty drawbacks. 

A Rs6bn grant was approved for the Pakistan Railways. 

Earlier, PM Imran had on Tuesday unveiled a financial relief package worth around Rs1.2 trillion to ward off the negative impact of the coronavirus on the country and the economy.

The package included a reduction in the prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene by Rs15 per litre, the approval of a Rs3,000 monthly stipend for daily wage earners, and a rescue package for exporters and industrialists.

“We have provided a relief package to the tune of Rs1.2 trillion, as it did not incorporate tax relief provided through abolishing/reducing taxes on pulses and palm oil,” Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar had told The News when asked about the exact financial impact of relief package announced by the premier.

Also read: IMF working on emergency coronavirus fund request, lauds Pakistan's swift relief response

The PM had also announced the allocation of Rs50 billion for the procurement of medical equipment. He added that a tax reduction on items such as on import of pulses, palm oil, and others had been approved too.

Also read: Financial experts criticise government for 'ill thought out' virus relief plan

The PM also allocated Rs25 billion for National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). He also announced that he would unveil special relief package for the construction sector in the next few days as it would help to kick-start different industries and would provide jobs at this difficult times.

The journalists present on the occasion raised critical questions over the non-elected representatives of the economic team, laid back monetary policy, and prescription of wrong economic policies. The PM replied that he was responsible for all policies of his government.