Islamabad : Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday launched a web-portal soliciting applications from those who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and has announced to commit the Prime Minister’s COVID 19 Relief fund to those who will qualify for assistance. The Prime Minister’s COVID 19 Relief fund was announced on March 31 and to-date, Rs3 billion have been mobilized. The pledges continue to be realized.
While opening the portal the PM said, “There has been little transparency and track ability in the use of donor finds in the past. Pakistanis are the most giving nation. Their generosity is legendary. I want to give them the confidence that we will be fully transparent with the use of all donor funds we receive. ” he added, “I have made the decision that my COVID 19 fund will be used to give emergency cash to labourers and others that have lost their livelihoods as a result of the COVID 19 crisis. I am opening a web-portal today so that we can begin receiving applications. Those who will qualify for assistance will get Emergency Cash of Rs12,000. I encourage all of you to donate. For each rupee donated by the donors, 4 rupees will be committed by the Government.”
The prime minister has made the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division the administrator of the fund. To ensure robust governance and oversight of the fund, a policy council is being set up.
For arresting the financial impacts upon public after the coronavirus outbreak, he maintained, the government had slashed petroleum prices to provide further relief to the public.
The prime minister said the petroleum prices in Pakistan were currently the lowest ones when compared with the whole region particularly with India and Bangladesh.
He said in a span of one month, the government reduced price of petrol by Rs30 per litre, diesel Rs42 and kerosene Rs45. The chief secretaries of all the provinces were directed to ensure reduction in the prices of different commodities in the wake of petroleum prices cut as announced by the government.
The prime minister also urged the nation to show discipline and prudence to face the challenge and stressed upon observance of the social distancing with all the precautionary measures.
He said nobody could predict how much this pathogen last, so the people should take extra care and practice self-discipline.
He also requested the people diagnosed with COVID-19 positive to go into quarantine into their homes with all the proper preventive measures as all the infected patients did not require to be taken to hospitals.
The prime minister also expressed his displeasure with treatment of infected people by the police force, and reiterated that in independent societies, these things did not take place.
About latest coronavirus pandemic situation, he said that global efforts were being made to resume businesses and trade activities, even the hardest hit countries in the West with sound economies were opening different sectors as they had realized that continuing with the prolonged lockdown was causing negative impacts.
The prime minister said they had opened the construction industry to provide relief to the labour class and daily wagers.
These incentives, which the government had announced for the industry had been unprecedented, he added.
Speaking to the press after the opening of the portal, Dr. Sania Nishtar, said “We feel honoured that the Prime Minister has entrusted Ehsaas to utilise these funds. We are humbled by the trust and faith in the Ehsaas Emergency Cash system” she said, further adding “The existing principles and process that has been deployed for Ehsaas Emergency Cash will be fully applied to the use of the Prime Minister’s COVID 19 donor funds as well. For us it is critical to uphold transparency, rule-based controls, and deployment of data analytics for the selection of beneficiaries. The system of identification will be fully apolitical and free from human interference. Payments will be done after biometric verification and tehsil level data will be made public with regards to the number of beneficiaries and real time bank disbursement and withdrawal details will be made public” she said. For applications, the web-portal can be accessed at: https://ehsaaslabour.nadra.gov.pk/ehsaas/
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