Consolidating the Efforts of Various Social Safety Nets for the COVID-19 Relief
Publication Year : 2020

The coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic in Pakistan has entered a critical stage with varying degrees of lockdowns being observed in all provinces. The federal government recently announced another 2-week country-wide lockdown that will continue till the 15th of April, 2020. The economic and social effects of these lockdowns particularly on the segment of the population that comprises daily-waged workers have started to materialize and are being hotly debated in the public and policy domains. As the state bears the responsibility to provide the necessary social and economic protection to its citizens, the Pakistani state is under a great test to showcase its commitment to the poor and needy. Researchers at PIDE estimate that the country has entered into a critical secondary phase of economic shocks and within a few weeks approximately 19 million individuals are at risk of losing their sources of income including daily-waged workers, short-term production dependent employees and street vendors. In the worst-case scenario, the unemployment of 18.53 million workers is a great concern and shall prove to be gravely consequential. The estimates are summarized in detail in PIDE COVID 19 Bulletin No.4 available on the PIDE website1. This loss in employment will push millions of vulnerable segments of population in poverty to join the those already below the poverty line. These segments of population need both short-term and medium-term relief in the coming weeks and months. For this purpose, the government can mobilize already existing national safety net programs and their regional branches to reach those who are most vulnerable.