Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday appealed to overseas Pakistanis to donate generously in the ‘PM Relief Fund for COVID-19’ to help the government cope with the ongoing health crisis in the country.
In a video message released earlier today, the prime minister noted that the entire world is struggling against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lockdown has adversely affected the world economy, resulting in growing poverty across the globe, especially in developing countries like Pakistan, he remarked.
The prime minister urged overseas Pakistanis to help their brethren in need.
“Donate generously and help the government win this war against corona[virus],” he said.
Earlier, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari had met PM Imran to discuss the initiative.
A special online portal has also been launched, through which expats can easily donate up to $35 or more for Pakistan. The amount can be donated on a monthly basis as well.
Additionally, as a token of appreciation, the authorities have also decided to publish the names of donors on the website to encourage the spirit of generosity and national responsibility.
Pakistan has allocated Rs150 billion to provide relief to those worst affected by the lockdown. A cash grant of Rs12,000 will be given to over 12 million families across the country after registration and screening under the government’s Ehsaas programme.
PM appeals to global institutions
PM Imran had on Sunday appealed to world leaders, heads of financial institutions, and the United Nations to “launch an initiative that will give debt relief to developing countries to combat the coronavirus”.
In a televised address, PM Imran said his appeal came on the back of developing countries’ problems, such as high debt-to-GDP ratios, which Pakistan also faces.
He said that his primary concern was that the poor should not die of hunger due to necessary lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Apart from containing the virus and dealing with the economic crisis, our biggest worry now is the people dying of hunger,” he said. “The dilemma on one side [is] stopping people dying from the virus [and] on the other hand, preventing deaths from hunger as a result of the lockdown.”
The premier said another problem the developing world faces is “a huge discrepancy in the resources available” to developing and developed nations.
While the United States, Germany, and Japan have come up with relief packages of $2.2 trillion, €1 trillion, and $1 trillion, respectively, the maximum stimulus Pakistan could afford for a population of 220 million is $8 billion, he noted.
“This is the issue with most of the developing world, especially the developing world that’s suffering from a very high debt-to-GDP ratio,” PM Imran added, noting that “these highly-indebted countries” now face the problem of a lack of fiscal space.