As people bear the brunt of inflation, Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled Pakistan’s “largest welfare programme” in a televised address to the nation.
“Today, I am really happy that we are [announcing] Pakistan’s largest welfare programme,” said PM Imran. He added that it took “three years” for the government to collect the data of families that have been under “difficult circumstances”.
“It was not easy for us to give subsides and it was based on assumptions. Now we have a complete database, therefore I am in this position that I can announce this programme in front of you,” said PM Imran in his address.
While sharing details of the package, PM Imran said that it would benefit 20 million families and in total, 130 million people will get help from it. The package will be of Rs120 billion in total, he said.
“In this you [common man] will get 30% discount at shops on ghee, wheat and lentils,” said PM Imran. He explained that the common man would benefit as the government will provide a 30% subsidy on these items.
“This will be for next six months so the difficult time goes by,” said PM Imran, adding that the federal and provincial government would be paying for the subsidy.
“As our tax is rising then we can also increase it. But right now out of necessity the government is doing this [for some time],”said PM Imran.
The “second biggest programme” in “Pakistan’s history” that the PM said that has been launched is the Kamyab Pakistan programme.
“We will provide interest free loans to 4 million families,” said PM Imran.
Under the programme, interest-free loans will be provided for building houses, while Rs500,000 interest-free loans will be given to farmers to uplift their lands. While in cities Rs500,000 loans will be given to small businesses.
“And one person from a family will be given skilled training so they can stand on their feet and help their family,” said PM Imran. Under the same programme, the Kamyab Jawan programme is also connected, he added.
The PM shared that under the programme the government has provided Rs30billion in loans to 22,000 small businesses.
“With this is connected Pakistan’s largest scholarship programme. This is important as anything that can help uplift our lower class is education,” said PM Imran. He added that 6 million scholarships are being given under the programme.
The PM said that the last scheme that the government is expanding is the health card so families that have illness have the money for treatment.
“Aim of it [health card] will be that every family that has illness have money and [have the option] to go to any hospital for treatment,” said PM Imran. He added that the card is already available in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“We are also launching this in Islamabad and will have it there in next one or two months,” said PM Imran. He added that the programme will be expanded in Punjab by December and will cover the province completely by March of next year.
The premier shared that the PTI’s coalition government in Balochistan has also been asked to introduce the initiative.
“In Sindh because they [PPP] have their own government I will also ask them to begin it as well,” appealed PM Imran.
PM warns of gas crisis in winters
Before announcing the relief package, the PM spoke at length about inflation and the problems faced by the current government.
During this, PM Imran warned that the country would face a gas crisis in the winters. However, the PM maintained that the price of gas in Pakistan continues to remain the lowest.
“In US gas prices has increased by 116%, in Europe gas prices has increased by 300%. In Pakistan, gas price has not been increased. The price for gas that has been coming to your homes has not increased,” assured PM Imran. The price is increasing due to imported gas, said the PM.
“And I say again what can we do about inflation that is coming of abroad. If we have all these [natural resources] in our country then we can decrease prices further,” said the PM.
PM says petroleum prices will be increased
While speaking about the rising prices of petroleum products, the PM also warned that the government has no option but to increase the price in the future.
“In last three, four months price of oil has increased 100% [globally]. In our country oil prices have increased by 33%,” said PM Imran. He added that this was because the government has reduced the levy so the burden does not fall on the people.
“Right now Pakistan, apart from oil producing countries, has cheapest prices in oil. But I am telling you today that we will have to increase petrol [price],” said PM Imran, adding that if the government does not increase it then the deficit will grow.
“We are already burdened by the interest we pay on the debt. We will have to increase the petrol prices I am telling you this today,” said PM Imran.