COVID-19 likely to leave 3mn Pakistanis jobless

Islamabad, June 6 (IANS) An estimated 3 million people associated with industrial and services sectors of Pakistan are expected to lose their jobs, and the poverty level could rise to 33.5 per cent from the current 24.3 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Finance Ministry said.

The services sector is likely to lose over 2 million jobs, whereas the industrial sector would lose one million jobs over economic difficulties triggered by the pandemic, the ministry told the Senate, the upper house of the country's parliament, on Friday.

Prior to the pandemic, the GDP growth was expected to be 3.24 per cent, which has now reduced to -0.4 per cent during the ongoing fiscal year, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying.

It adding that the fiscal deficit is also expected to rise from the initial target of 7.5 per cent to 9.4 per cent of the GDP.

The Ministry further said that amid the pandemic, the country's exports were expected to reduce to $21-$22 billion due to a slump in global economic activity and low commodity prices.

Before the pandemic, exports amounted to $25.5 billion.

Moreover, remittances are also expected to decline from the targeted $23 billion to $20-$21 billion.

Earlier in March, the Pakistani government announced a financial relief package worth 1,200 billion PKR ($73 billion) to mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus on the national economy and vulnerable sections of society.

The economic relief package covers emergency response, relief for citizens, and business support, the Ministry said on Friday.

So far, Pakistan has reported a total of 89,249 COVID-19 cases, with 1,838 deaths.



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