Finance division has categorically denounced the media reports claiming that PTI-led federal government has decided to utilize Rs. 10 billion from the Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to pay interest on loans taken to retire circular debt.
According to the official statement issued by the Finance Ministry, media reports alleging that the federal government has authorized to use COVID-19 funds for the interest payment are factually inaccurate.
Financial resources allocated for the PM COVID-19 Relief Fund will be utilized only for providing cash assistance to the most vulnerable households and daily wagers.
Moreover, the federal government has decided to bring 16 million households under the coverage of emergency cash assistance against the 5 million households decided earlier.
The statement further adds that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) meeting allowed allocation of Rs.10 billion from the Fiscal Stimulus Package worth Rs. 1.2 trillion as a stopgap arrangement for interest payment on Rs. 200 billion Pakistan Energy Sukuk-II.
The federal government had allocated Rs. 100 billion for relief on power and gas utility bills for poorest households in the Fiscal Stimulus Package. The government has already provided relief on utility bills for the next 3 months to the poorest households, the statement concludes.
To put it simply, the ECC decision is nothing but a reallocation of funds from the Fiscal Stimulus Package worth Rs. 1.2 trillion. This reallocation of funds has no link with the Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.