PM Imran Khan announces Rs 120bn subsidy package for 20m most vulnerable families


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday addressed the nation and announced a “historic” relief package worth Rs120 billion for the masses.

Addressing the nation, the premier said that considering that the masses are undergoing a tough time due to the inflation in the country, the government is introducing a package for 20 million families, which will — in turn — benefit 130 million Pakistanis.

“This [poverty alleviation] package — called the Raashan Madad Package — which is worth Rs120 billion, will be offered to [most vulnerable] Pakistanis by the federal and provincial governments,” he said.

The premier announced that under the package, citizens will be able to avail a 30% discount for six months on three basic edible items, including ghee, wheat, and pulses, under targeted subsidy.

The premier said that under the package, interest-free loans of up to Rs500,000 will be provided to city-dwellers to start businesses, while a similar amount of loan will also be provided to farmers. 

The prime minister further added that the government has asked the construction sector to increase the salaries of workers, while a health-insurance programme will be introduced in Punjab from December. 

“Under the package, four million families will be able to build houses without interest,” the PM said, adding that Rs1,400 billion have been set aside for the Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP) 2021 with the aim to provide opportunities to the deserving and uplift 3.7 million households across the country.

At the beginning of his address, the premier thanked China and Saudi Arabia for financially assisting Pakistan and said that had the country become a defaulter, the rupee would have depreciated more and inflation would have skyrocketed.

The prime minister also shed light on the coronavirus situation across the world and said that, unlike other countries, the Pakistani government made strategic decisions related to the imposition of a lockdown and saved factories from closing down and agricultural activities were continuing as usual. 

“[Due to the government’s policies], cotton production had increased by 81%, while record-breaking motorcycle and tractor sales were witnessed in the country.

“Urea was used 23% more by the farmers, indicating that the conditions were getting better. And when the farmers are happy, the production increases, and in return, it benefits the country,” he said.

In construction, there are Rs600 billion projects underway, as we had incentivised it, he said, adding that in the industrial sector, the large scale manufacturing had increased by 13% — more money and more jobs in the country.

“We had [allowed] construction industry to operate; we tried to save our exports as if they would have stopped, then the dollar would have gone up against the rupee,” he said.

Due to the government’s policies, rice production had gone up by 13.6%, corn 8%, sugarcane 22%, and wheat 8%.

Talking about the increase in profits of several industrial sectors, he said engineering witnessed an increase of 350% in their profits, textile 163%, cars 131%, cement 113%, oil and gas 75%.

The premier said electricity consumption had increased by 13%, indicating that the industry was growing. The prime minister stated that the tax revenue was increasing, which showed that our economic indicators are on the right track.

In information and technology, the prime minister said the sector had witnessed a growth of 47%, while in the current year, it is expected to grow by 75%. “This is a good thing for our youth”.

“Our policies prevented the economy from collapsing,” he said. “The World Bank, the World Health Organisation, and the World Economic Forum, all praised our policies amid the pandemic.”