Update (May 4, 2020):
Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently launched a web portal for registration of labourers and daily wagers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis in Pakistan. The eligible individuals will receive financial assistance of PKR 12,000 as part of the government’s COVID-19 relief package.
“Those who will qualify for assistance will get Emergency Cash of PKR 12,000. I encourage all of you to donate. For each rupee donated by the donors, 4 rupees will be committed by the government,” Khan said during the launch ceremony. “The distribution will be made on merit and there will be no political interference. All deserving will get the support on merit irrespective of their political affiliations.”
According to a report published in the Business Recorder, the prime minister has urged the Tiger Force and other volunteers to help people fill the online registration forms on the web portal by setting up registration desks at UC-level.
He further stated that the unemployed labourers and daily wage earners will be provided cash assistance from the Prime Minister’s Covid-19 fund.
How to Register For the Government’s COVID-19 Relief Package
Here is how one can register for the government’s COVID-19 relief package for unemployed daily wagers and labourers.
First, you need to visit the official Ehsaas Labour portal launched by the government. Then, enter your CNIC number, mobile phone number and mobile service operator, before submitting your details. If you are found eligible for the programme, you’ll be registered for financial support.
It is important to mention those who have already received aid under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme will not be eligible for this relief package.
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise across the world, almost a third of the global population has been put under some form of lockdown by their respective governments to slow down the spread of the potentially deadly disease. Although every individual has been adversely affected by this outbreak in one way or another, small businesses and daily wage earners have arguably been hit the hardest. The situation in Pakistan isn’t much different, which is why the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and the federal cabinet have recently approved the government’s COVID-19 relief package for small businesses and daily wage earners.
According to a report published in The Nation, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar announced during an earlier press conference that the Economic Coordination Committee has approved a PKR 75 billion relief package for small and medium-sized enterprises, commonly referred to as SMEs. The initiative will also provide financial assistance for labourers and daily wage earners who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus lockdown in Pakistan.
Here is what we know about the government’s COVID-19 relief package for small businesses and daily wage earners so far.
Coronavirus Relief Package for Small Businesses in Pakistan
The government’s relief programme for small businesses, entitled ‘Chota Karobar-o-Sannat Imdadi Package,’ will reportedly benefit about 35 lakh SMEs across the country by paying their electricity bills for the months of May, June and July.
“The government wants to help smaller businesses affected by the lockdown and so it is introducing this scheme to ensure that it can facilitate them as much as possible,” said Azhar. “The sum will be based on actual consumption and total payments made from the meter in the May, June, and July 2019 period combined.”
The government will use an appropriate average In case the data is not available for the base period.
The minister further explained that support of up to PKR 100,000 will be provided to 95 percent of small businesses with a commercial connection of 5 KW, while the assistance of up to PKR 450,000 will be given to 70 percent of industrial customers consuming 70 KW.
It is pertinent to mention that the Ministry of Industries and Production developed this small businesses package with active consultation from Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), according to the Nation.
In order to benefit from the government’s COVID-19 relief package for small businesses, small businesses will have to submit either their pre-paid electricity bills for the past three months or the total bills during the base period.
“These businesses are overwhelmingly of micro, small and medium scale,” added the minister.
He also said the funds deposited towards their bills will stay valid for up to six months for utilisation, starting from May/June 2020.
Along with the four provinces, the ‘Chota Karobar-o-Sannat Imdadi Package’ will also be applicable in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Coronavirus Relief Package for Daily Wagers in Pakistan
With social distancing being the only way to tackle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a large number of offices across the country have asked their employees to work remotely. Similarly, most factories, retail outlets, tailors and other small and medium-sized businesses have also shut down their operations until further notice.
Unfortunately, this had made things rather difficult for daily wage earners and other low-income groups, who are struggling to make the ends meet during the coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan.
In a bid to help the labourers adversely affected by the coronavirus crisis, the government has introduced a new initiative that will reportedly benefit about 4 to 6 million people. Under this COVID-19 relief programme, those who have become unemployed due to the current crisis will be provided with cash assistance.
“Under the package, the unemployed will be provided with PKR 12,000 in instalments,” said Azhar.
In order to register for the programme, the unemployed labourers and daily wagers will have to apply on the government’s portal, which will soon be launched by the Ministry for Industries and Production in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s widely-hailed Ehsaas programme. The registration process will only take a few minutes and people will be able to receive assistance if they are found eligible.
It is important to mention that the beneficiaries of government’s coronavirus relief package for unemployed labourers will be in addition to the existing 12 million beneficiaries of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash initiative, under which lower-income families across Pakistan have registered to receive a cash grant of PKR 12,000.
The registration for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme has now been closed.
In addition to the above-mentioned COVID-19 relief packages in Pakistan, the federal cabinet has also approved a special package for healthcare workers battling the pandemic on the frontlines.
As per a report published by the Business Recorder, any healthcare worker who loses his or her life while fighting coronavirus will be eligible to receive the same assistance package provided to government servants in cases of security-related deaths under the Shuhada Package. This package is currently applicable for healthcare workers performing COVID-19 related duties in Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Moreover, if you or someone you know is exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus or has come in contact with a potentially infected person, please make sure to call the government helpline at 1166. Here is the complete list of coronavirus testing centres established across the country that might come in handy.
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