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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has sought formation of a committee to regularly monitor the implementation of Rs1.4trillion Kamyab Pakistan Program (KPP) designed for 3.7 million low-income households and to address the issues that would arise during its implementation.

After inaugurating his government's flagship programme here on Monday, the prime minister expressed the confidence that the programme would bring about change in the lives of the low-income group, as for the first time the government has adopted a bottom-up approach to provide financial support to the farmers with the objective to bring about improvement in their lives.

The PM announced a 40 percent targeted subsidy for the poor on purchase of essential food items, saying the special step would provide relief to the low-income groups against inflation.

The programme provides interest-free loans for Kamyab Karobar, Kamyab Kisan, Naya Pakistan Sasta Ghar Scheme, Kamyab Hunarmand, and Sehat Mand Pakistan.

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The prime minister said that this programme should have been launched 74 years ago to make the country a welfare state.

He regretted that the right approach was not adopted in the policies and consequently the country could not be made a welfare state as dreamt by the founding father.

The premier said that in the "State of Madinah", at first, a welfare state was established and then prosperity followed.

The premier also gave examples of China and India that owing to different sets of approaches with almost equal population in the region, the two countries are poles apart in terms of development.

"There is no comparison between the two as China is now moving on path to development after dealing with the challenge of poverty, whereas, India is still having a huge population living in poverty," he said.

PM Khan said that the fundamental principles, as stated by the father of the nation that Pakistan would be made a welfare state were not followed in the past 74 years. He said it was unfortunate that the entire system was catering to a very small group of elite class that had led to inequality in the society.

The prime minister said that the finance minister's idea to involve microfinance institutes as retailer to provide loans to the people would be very helpful for the uplift of the low-income group. He stated that the government is aware of the difficulties faced by the people, adding that prices of commodities have increased primarily because of "imported inflation" because the government has been importing essential commodities including wheat. "The government has imported four million tons of wheat," he added.

The PM said that the government would provide targeted direct cash subsidy to 40 percent households on ghee, sugar, and flour.

He further said that the government has not passed on the entire burden of the increase in prices of commodities and petroleum products, and would consequently face Rs400 billion revenue losses in the ongoing fiscal year for lowering sales tax and the petroleum levy. He said that the petroleum prices are lower in Pakistan as compared to other countries. He said that the price of wheat increased 37 percent in the global market but it was increased by 12 percent in Pakistan.

Additionally, he added that there was 100 percent increase in price of petroleum products but the government increased prices by only 22 percent. The prime minister said that wheat price increased by 33 percent and sugar by 40 percent in the international market but the government increased their prices by 12 and 21 percent, respectively.

Prices of essential kitchen items register significant increase

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said that the programme has been designed to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth. He added that consistency in policies was prerequisite for sustainable growth. The minister said that under the Kamyab Karobar, interest-free loans up to Rs500,000 would be provided to the low-income group to start their own earning.

Similarly, under Kamyab Kissan, interest-free loans would be given to the farmers.

Tarin said that the programme would also enable low-income groups to construct their houses under low-cost housing scheme, and health cards would be provided to the poor households besides, one person of each family would be provided technical training. He said that for the first time, poor households would be provided loans at their doorstep by microfinance institutes, whose small loans recovery is 99 percent.

The minister said that the banks would make available loans at wholesale level and microfinance institutes would retail them. He said that Rs1.4 trillion would be disbursed to the 3.7 households through KPP in three to five years and subsequently, the programme would be expanded to six million households.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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