Rs1.2tn relief package for corona approved by cabinet Centre calls in Rangers after Sindh govt fails to implement transport agreement

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STAFF REPORTER
ISLAMABAD The federal cabinet on Tuesday reviewed and approved a Rs1.2-trillion economic relief package announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan last week as the number of confirmed cases rise exponentially. During the meeting, which also deliberated upon the government’s steps to check the Covid-19 pandemic, PM Imran took notice of the reports claiming that goods of the country’s exporters were being stopped. “Exporters’ goods, as well as goods’ transport, should not be halted,” the premier said. The Cabinet was briefed on the measures being taken to tackle the worsening pandemic. The ECC had also approved a special package for relief to 12 million poor families through cash assistance under the Ehsaas Programme. Cash grants would be provided under the Kafalat programme and emergency cash assistance to the poor on the recommendation of the district administration. The assistance would be provided for four months as a one-time dispensation. The cash would be provided either in one Rs12,000 installment through Kafalat partner banks — Bank Alfalah and Habib Bank Limited — after biometric verification or in two installments of Rs6,000 each. Meanwhile, the government’s chief spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed the Sindh Rangers to ensure supply of goods from Sindh is maintained after it was found the provincial government had failed to implement a transport agreement “in true spirit”. Awan, in a media briefing following a meeting of the cabinet, said that the prime minister expressed displeasure “in strong words” over the fact that despite the National Coordination Committee’s decision for all four provinces, GilgitBaltistan, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir to keep transport lines open for essential goods, the Sindh government did not implement the same. Awan said that all export and import takes place through the Sindh shipping port and due to administrative measures and a transport lockdown, exporters are facing challenges. “The supply goes all the way to Gilgit-Baltistan. With no loaders present or those who pack goods or a lack of facilities, the supply chain is facing a delay. “Rangers will ensure all obstacles in the transport of goods are removed and the transport of goods is secured and ensured,” said Awan. The premier’s aide on information also said that the prime minister was informed during the cabinet meeting that coronavirus patients are being treated as “untouchables”. She said this is a “criminal act” and that the prime minister expressed great disapproval of the fact.