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Around 1.3m people could lose their jobs if lockdown extended to 45 days: KPK govt report

A report by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s Planning and Development Department has revealed that as many as 1.3 million could lose their jobs, if a 45-day lockdown was put in place warning that at least 460,000 people working as daily wagers and street vendors were set to lose their employment with immediate effects.

The report released on Sunday, highlighted the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the province’s economy.

While estimating layoffs caused due to the lockdown in place to stop the spread of the pandemic the report noted that daily wage workers paid worker by piece rate or work performed, paid non-family apprentice and street vendors were highly vulnerable to the economic impact of covid-19.

The report also predicted that the growth of KP’s economy would decrease from 3.73 % in 2019 to 2.9% this year, while the gross domestic product (GDP) would go down from Rs13,35,942 million to Rs13,16,160m.

1.3 million jobs could be lost amid outbreak

The report also predicted that overall, some 1.3 million jobs could be lost during a 45-day lockdown, the highest losses would be seen in the transportation and storage sectors with a predicted loss of some 359,393 jobs while construction manufacturing and wholesale sectors would also be highly affected with job losses of some 295,594, 258,664 and 216,252 respectively.

The number of jobs lost could increase even more if the lockdown was extended, the report warned, estimating that some 2.7m jobs would be lost if the lockdown was extended to a 6 month period while some 4.2m jobs would be lost if the lockdown remained in place for an year.

However the report observed that there would be minimal impact on the province’s agricultural sector.

KPK govt announces mechanisms to mitigate impact

The report titled Coping Strategy: Mitigating Adverse Impact of coronavirus on the Economy and Job Market in KPK also laid out the provincial government’s mechanisms to deal with the impact.

According to the report, some 1.5 million families in the province will benefit from the federal government’s Ehsaas Cash Disbursement Programme through which they would get Rs12,000 every month.

The report voiced apprehension that the coronavirus pandemic would also render vulnerable those people who do not fall under the federal government’s cash distribution programme criteria. The government would therefore form a committee at the Village Council level that would identify vulnerable families who would receive Rs6,000 from the government.

Certain sectors would also be exempted from tax payments, the report said. Construction wholesale retail and transport sectors would be eligible to benefit from these tax exemptions.

The government would also adopt a moratorium on loan payments for three months to allow business higher liquidity to the most affected small and medium enterprises while mark-up due for the quarter ending 31 March would have to be paid by 15 June instead of 15 April.

The government would also pay advance salaries to officers from grade 1 to 17 to sustain demand if needed.”

The report added that the government would also consider deferral of payment of utility bills for three months to help support small businesses and shopkeepers.”

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