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May 20, 2020

‘Govt devised well-crafted strategy against COVID-19’

Islamabad

May 20, 2020

Islamabad: Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms & Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain has said that the government has devised and implemented a well-crafted strategy in wake of Covid-19 enabling the most vulnerable segments of the society to absorb the economic shocks whereas the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are being given support in order to tackle a disruption in the economic activities.

Dr Ishrat was giving a keynote speech at an online dialogue on ‘Managing Economy in the aftermath of Covid-19: A keynote session with Dr Ishrat Hussain’ organised here by Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

Dr Ishrat said that the largest cash grant in the history of Pakistan targeting 16 million households across Pakistan is being provided to most vulnerable groups in the wake of the pandemic. He said almost eight million people living below the poverty line already benefitted while four million more households that are feared to slip into this category and four million others that have lost the employment during this crisis would also be provided this cash grant.

He said the SMEs are being provided relief through several measures, including the arrangement of subsidies on the loans by the government. He continued that measures are also being taken to revive the agriculture sector. It is being done through supporting the small farmers and Rs56 billion are being allocated to provide subsidies on agricultural inputs, including seeds and fertilisers.

He observed that job creation is another key consideration of the government to respond to growing unemployment resulting in the aftermath of Coronavirus. Thus, he said, keeping in view the potential of the construction sector in the creation of employment opportunities, subsidies and incentives are being announced for the important sector of the economy.

Dr Ishrat said that a number of measures are on the offing for the performance evaluation of civil servants under the institutional reforms. The reforms are directed towards the aspects of induction, recruitment, training, performance management, career planning, promotion, compensation, early retirement and finally retirement, he said adding that now it would be mandatory for the Grade-19 and above officers to produce at least two research papers in their relevant fields for their promotion in the next grade. He said the cabinet has already approved the institutional reforms plan and it will be implemented in the next promotions. The e-governance initiatives were introduced even before the arrival outbreak of the pandemic and would be strengthened further now as an ongoing process, he said.