Foreign Covid-19 relief funds must be distributed fairly to provinces: Bilawal

Published: 11:41 PM, 28 Apr, 2020
Foreign Covid-19 relief funds must be distributed fairly to provinces: Bilawal
Caption: Prime Minister Imran Khan (Left) and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
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Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has called for fair distribution of the relief package received from financial institutions like IMF, World Bank and G20.

“The federal government should cut its expenditure and give extra money to provinces instead of cutting their share,” the PPP chairman said while chairing a meeting of the party’s economic committee through video link in Islamabad on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by PPP’s senior leaders Raza Rabbani, Syed Naveed Qamar, Shazia Marri, Chaudhry Manzoor and others.

The meeting termed the economic relief package of the federal government inadequate and demanded that the amount for the jobless people be increased from Rs12,000 to Rs17,500 under the minimum wage scheme.

The PPP chairman said that in an extraordinary situation it was the duty of the federal government to extend utmost assistance to the provinces. He said that federal governments across the globe are extensively helping their provincial governments. He said the federal government should increase health facilities in all provinces and do fair distribution of international aid in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

“The federation should cut its expenditure and give extra money to the provinces instead of cutting their allocated funds. The federal government should also allow the provinces to benefit from the relief received from various international financial institutions (IFIs), including IMF, World Bank and G20 countries,” Bilawal said.

Earlier, committee member Syed Naveed Qamar told the meeting that foreign aid was being disbursed to personal accounts.

Bilawal Bhutto said that it was not correct to say that under the 18th Amendment health was sole responsibility of the provinces, which are already working beyond their means and resources. He said that in extraordinary situations central governments are extending support to their provinces the world over. He demanded that the small traders should be assisted with quick relief packages and through tax concessions, soft loans and other concessions.

Farmers, the PPP chairman said, are also looking to the federal government and in this situation they too should be given a relief package in the form of subsidy on fertilisers and electricity bills.

The situation caused by the locust attack on crops was also discussed at the meeting and the meeting was informed that the risk of locust attack was looming on crops once again.

Bilawal Bhutto urged the federal government to come up with a comprehensive plan keeping in view the danger posed by locust to ripe crops in fields. He said at the moment there is a dire need to focus on food security, as it will be the biggest problem for the country in near future. Measures are needed for a smooth food supply, storage and consumption, he added.

Bilawal Bhutto said the prime minister does not belong to Islamabad alone; he should not be considered just the mayor of Islamabad. He should come forward as head of the entire country.

During the meeting, MNA Shazia Marri said the amount set aside for unemployed people had been decreased from Rs200 billion to Rs75 billion, which is a matter of concern for the entire nation.