Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

P & R Vol.2 Issue 4
Protect the people first
Publication Year : 2021
Author: Pervez Tahir

In his public responses to combat the coronavirus outbreak, the Prime Minister’s primary concern was the condition of those below the poverty line. In the absence of an official estimate, one can only say that the number is hugely large. Social distancing and the lockdown have added daily and casual wage earners in urban areas, rural workers and fisher folks to this figure. With the falling domestic and export demand, layoffs in the formal sector have already begun. It is these people, stupid, not the economy that deserves urgent attention! Yet the Rs1.3 trillion package plus the State Bank’s intransigence on interest rate cater predominantly to the requirements of the neoliberal economy and its elite clients. The stock exchange, left out in the original privilege dole, was accommodated the next day by abolishing capital value tax (CVT). It’s like Trump opening up the economy by the coming Easter, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) warning about the next epicentre.