Sindh govt will give Rs20b in cash transfers to alleviate hardships of pandemic-hit people

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KARACHI: The Sindh government will start cash transfer from next month to people badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic for their economic welfare, informed Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah on Tuesday.

According to a statement released on Tuesday, the chief secretary said, “The Sindh government has earmarked Rs34 billion in the annual budget for fiscal year 2020-21 to help citizens affected by the coronavirus pandemic”. The announcement was made during a meeting of the steering committee to oversee the implementation of Pro-poor Social Protection and Economic Sustainability Initiatives. The meeting was chaired by the chief secretary and attended by CM’s Special Assistant Haris Gazdar, Finance Secretary Syed Hassan Naqvi, Livestock and Fisheries Secretary Aijaz Ahmed Mahesar and other officials.

“This budget was made to ensure food security, reduce inflation and unemployment. Some Rs20 billion is proposed for cash transfers to those affected by coronavirus under the Sindh Peoples Support Programme through the Social Protection Strategic Unit (SPSU) and Social welfare department (SWD),” the CS said.

The statement issued also said that that Rs5 billion were allocated for a soft loan programme for small and medium enterprises in the province while subsidies of Rs1 billion would be provided to purchase rice seeds and another Rs1 billion for pesticides. The chief secretary also directed the authorities to collect all relevant data from the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and the census department for sending money under Sindh Peoples Support Programme.

He also directed officers of the implementation and coordination department to send a letter to the census department for the provision of data pertaining to peoples’ socio-economic conditions in the province. “The Sindh government in the month of September would transfer cash to persons affected by Covid-19 for their economic welfare, and for the purpose a sum of Rs20bn has been reserved in the provincial budget for 2020-21,” the chief secretary said.

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