Incumbent shares success against COVID-19

By Staff Reporter
Wednesday – September 23, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The planning development and special initiatives (PDSI) minister Asad Umar attributed success against coronavirus (COVID-19), Tuesday, to the well-coordinated smart lockdown strategy that brought Pakistan into the list of ranked countries in the world who successfully confronted the pandemic.

According to an official statement, a high-level global think-tank, center for global development (CGD), hosted an international forum, ‘Coping with COVID-19: The Pakistan Experience.’

Sharing ehsaas emergency cash (EEC) experience, special assistant to the prime minister on social protection and poverty alleviation (SAPM-SPPA) Sania Nishtar said, “To mitigate the socioeconomic damage from the pandemic, the government of Pakistan (GoP) launched EEC, the largest social-protection programme in the country’s history.”

She said, “Rolled out 10 days after the lockdown began, it is delivering one-time cash grants totalling more than $1.2 billion to 15 million households, covering approximately 50 percent of the country’s population.”

SAPM-SPPA Nishtar continued, “Recipient families are given Rs 12,000 ($75) to cover immediate subsistence needs.”

She educated, “The EEC programme’s end-to-end digital approach, with transparency hard-wired into its design, offers lessons about how to use personal identification systems.”

SAPM-SPPA Nishtar elaborated, “Phones, internet connectivity and national identifications (IDs), and a digital, demand-based social-protection system were combined to reach out to the deserving at a national scale.”

She said, “The legacy of programme goes beyond short-term relief.”

SAPM-SPPA Nishtar highlighted, “Built into its design are long-term goals to strengthen the safety net and increase financial inclusion, both of which will bring lasting benefits to recipients and to Pakistan as a whole.”

Discoursing the overall macroeconomic impact in the context of COVID-19, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor Reza Baqir shared policies of the incumbent to support the economic activity amid COVID-19 that helped contain the huge damage that could have been caused otherwise.

In the high-level panel discussion, the three panellists were virtually joined by two international experts, Kalipso Chalkidou from global health team at CGD and Alan Gelb who leads a work-stream on the use of digital ID systems for safety nets in Pakistan and other countries.

To foster local participation and engagement at the event, the CGD joined hands with CDPR, the Pakistani economic research consortium.

Positioned in Washington D.C. and London, CGD extends worldwide advisory support capitalised on policy and research to alleviate global poverty and make better lives.
International experts highly lauded Pakistan’s whole of the GoP approach to address the socio-economic damage induced by the coronavirus.
They acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to control the spread of the virus and its economic consequences that led to better outcomes than most other countries.