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PM Imran announces multi-billion stimulus package amid coronavirus outbreak

 Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced a multi-billion stimulus package to prevent negative impact of the situation arising out of the outbreak of coronavirus and to facilitate poor people in the prevailing circumstances.  
Interacting with senior journalists in Islamabad Tuesday evening, he said 200 billion rupees have been allocated for the labour class to mitigate their sufferings, while the government is also reaching provinces and the business community to extend maximum facilitation in this regard.
The Prime Minister said exports and industry are vital for the economy and 100 billion rupees have been reserved for release of tax refund immediately. He said the industry will also be entitled for deferred interest payments.
Imran Khan said 100 million rupees have been allocated for Small and Medium Enterprises and agriculture sectors, along with deferment of interest payments, and concessional loan facility.
He added 150 billion rupees have been reserved for poor families across Pakistan under which every family will get an assistance of three thousand rupees on monthly basis.
Similarly, fifty billion rupees have been reserved for Utility Stores to provide essential items on subsidized rates, whereas 280 billion rupees allocated for wheat procurement.
The PM said a reduction of 15 rupees per liter in the prices of petroleum products has also been approved. He said lowering of petroleum prices will have an economic impact of 75 billion rupees on the national exchequer.
He said electricity consumers consuming upto 300 units will be allowed to pay their bills in three months' installments, while same facility will be available to gas consumers as well upto the gas bill of 2000 rupees.
Imran Khan said that 50 billion rupees have been kept for medical workers for necessary supplies, 23 billion rupees to National Disaster Management Authority for the procurement of testing kits and other equipment to face the challenge of Coronavirus.
He said 100 billion rupees have been reserved to handle the negative impact of the lockdown.
The Prime Minister said that the government has also reduced or abolished taxes on edible items like oil, ghee, and pulses to lower the prices of kitchen items to facilitate common man.
Imran Khan said network of shelter houses will be expanded to accommodate more people, while ensuring protecting measures to avert spread of the Coronavirus.
The Prime Minister said that a special package for construction industry will also be announced soon.
Regarding confusion over lockdown, Imran Khan said the government is constantly keeping a vigilant eye on the evolving situation amid COVID-19.
He urged the people to refrain from overreacting as wrong decisions taken out of fear can be more disastrous than the Coronavirus itself. He, however, said any decision in future can be taken as per need of the hour. 
Answering a question, the Prime Minister said a volunteer youth force will be raised to face the calamities like COVID-19 to enhance collective response of the nation.
Replying a question, the Prime Minister said that curfew will be the last option in case of increasing the spread of pandemic and the government, at the moment, does not want to put the public in difficulties. 
Imran Khan said overseas Pakistanis are also being engaged in collecting funds and it will be used in meeting the challenge.
To a question the Prime Minister said that all provinces are independent in taking decision after 18th amendment and all of them are working effectively to meet the pandemic.
Responding to another question, he said the government is also working on a package for media workers.

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