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April 7, 2020

Sindh could not implement mobile cash transfer plan, say ministers


April 7, 2020

In a press conference on Monday, three provincial ministers said the plan of the Sindh government to directly transfer cash to the needy people through mobile banking accounts could not be implemented owing to certain issues.

The press conference was addressed by Sindh Information and Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Sindh Labour and Education Minister Saeed Ghani, and Sindh Energy Minister Saeed Ghani.

They said the Sindh government had approached certain federal institutions for the purpose but it did not get any positive response from these federal agencies.

Owing to this situation the Sindh government had to fully rely on the process of ration distribution to support the needy families during the present lockdown, they said, and added that the ration distribution among the needy families was a cumbersome task involving lengthy logistical work.

They conceded that the Sindh government had faced certain difficulties in implementing the mechanism it had developed beforehand to support the daily-wage earners and labourers during the lockdown situation. However, they did not further elaborate on the issues the provincial government had faced in implementing its relief measures during the lockdown.

They said the Sindh government has so far released funds amounting to Rs1.08 billion to distribute food rations among 500,000 needy families facing economic hardships during the lockdown regime against.

Addressing the press conference, the provincial ministers said that some 36 charities had been engaged by the government to provide with ration bags to 2,15,000 needy families.

The Pakistan Navy has so far provided with ration bags to 30,000 families, while the deputy commissioners posted in various districts have also distributed rations among 32,000 needy families in Sindh, they said.

The provincial ministers thanked the people belonging to different walks of life, particularly the religious scholars, for observing the preventive measures recommended by the government against the spread of COVID-19.

They were of the viewpoint that different sections of the society had implemented up to 80 per cent advisories issues by the federal and Sindh governments to be adhered by the people against the spread of COVID-19.

They said the government had been in the process of importing personal protective equipment for the paramedical staff and doctors providing treatment to the people affected from the COVID-19.

They appealed to the owners of the private schools to give concession in tuition fee as much as possible to their students whose parents had been facing economic hardships in the present scenario. They said the provincial government had not reached any decision to give concession up to 20 per cent in tuition fee of the private schools in the present scenario.

Speaking on the occasion, Saeed Ghani said some Rs6,000 each had been transferred by the Sindh government as immediate cash assistance to some 100,000 zakat beneficiaries in the province.

He said committees had been constituted under deputy commissioners in every district comprising local government elected office-bearers, representatives of welfare organisations, and social activists to do ration distribution among the needy families in a transparent manner.

He said a mobile phone application was being used by the Sindh government to provide ration to the needy families after having their CNIC details.

Ghani said the government had asked the deputy commissioners to provide ration bags to families on their doorstep.

Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said the Sindh government had been facing difficulties in importing testing kits and other necessary preventive equipment from overseas as availability of such quality health care-related products had become a serious issue in the global market. He said the Sindh chief minister had ordered importing coronavirus testing kits from the United Kingdom.