Finance Ministry shares details of stimulus package


The Finance Ministry has shared details of stimulus package of Rs 1,240 billion with the media on Wednesday saying that the package includes emergency response of Rs 190 billion, relief to the citizen Rs 570 billion, and support to business and economy of Rs 480 billion.

In Rs 480 billion business and economy support, the support to capital markets would be that the CVT on capital market transactions is to be eliminated and easing liquidity of asset management companies – bank borrowing increased from 90 to 360 days and speculative trading (short selling) restricted in stock market.

Additionally, support to the business and economy of Rs 480 billion included wheat procurement target set at 8.25MT with Rs 280 billion and the amount would be distributed to farmers over the next couple of weeks, Rs 100 billion in refunds earmarked for exporters/industry for all refund claims to date, and DLTL payments, monthly tax filing requirement extended to quarterly as well as suspension of mark up for business for three months and to ensure continuous payments under recently announced subsidies on power ($7.5c/kwH) and gas tariffs ($6.5c/mmbtu) to the five export industries.

The support would also include Rs 100 billion for SMEs/agriculture whose mechanism is being finalised in collaboration with the SBP, business for subsidized loans, guarantees for SME sector and under emergency response package of 190 included for NDMA Rs 25 billion, medical workers Rs 50 billion, emergency fund Rs 100 billion, and tax relief on food items Rs 15 billion.

Relief to citizens of Rs 570 billion included relief to daily wage workers Rs 200 billion, relief to vulnerable families and Panagahs Rs 150 billion, relief on petrol/diesel Rs 70 billion as well as funding to Utility Stores Rs 50 billion and power and gas subsidy Rs 100 billion.

Support to business and economy of Rs 480 billion included payment to farmers (wheat) Rs 280 billion, relief to exporters Rs 100 billion, relief to the SMEs and agriculture Rs 100 billion.

Under emergency response (Rs 190 billion), the NDMA which is the central focal agency to combat the COVID 19 was Initially provided fund of Rs 13 billion for equipment and operations and additional funding of Rs 12 billion mobilized for it.

Emergency response also included elimination of all taxes (i.e. Customs Duty, the GST, the WHT) on 61 essential health machinery, equipment and simplification of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) certification and approvals process for purchase of equipment and medicines as well as Rs 50 billion for providing facilities and incentives to health workers and emergency fund of Rs 100 billion set up for evolving response to the COVID 19.

Under relief to citizens (Rs 570 billion), cash handouts of Rs 3,000 for 12 million vulnerable households for four months (Rs 144 billion), five million families (existing Kifalat recipients) to get Rs 3,000 over the next four months and additional seven million families to be provided Rs 3,000 over the next four months.

These include three million families identified by the BISP database, four million families to be identified by provincial/district administration.

Panagahs (shelters) will be allocated additional Rs 6 billion to provide food and shelter to the homeless, establishment of Rs 200 billion fund for most affected workers and detailed mechanics of it is being developed with the provinces and businesses.

Package for wage earners to complement provinces in their similar operations and incentives for industry to keep labour employed as well as deferred bill payments for power consumers (up to 300 units) and gas consumers (up to Rs 2,000 bills) for next three months (Rs 100 billion), reduction in prices of petrol and diesel for consumers by Rs 15/ liter (Rs 70 billion) and additional funding of Rs 50 billion budgeted for the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) – wheat, sugar, rice, cooking oil, and pulses.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020


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