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IMF Acknowledges Pakistan’s Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted the rapid spread of coronavirus in Pakistan and acknowledged the Government’s announced Rs. 1.2 trillion relief package.

In a recent publication Policy Tracker, IMF said, “COVID-19 has been spreading rapidly in the past month in Pakistan, with 4,489 confirmed cases claiming 63 deaths, as of April 9.”

In addition, the IMF said both the federal and provincial governments have adopted various measures to control the virus spread. It included quarantining more than three thousand travelers from Iran, closing borders with neighboring countries, international travel restrictions, school closures, social distancing measures, and lockdowns in cities and provinces across the country.

Pakistani army also started helping the provincial governments to take strict actions in order to control COVID-19 outbreak.

IMF said that authorities announced a relief package worth Rs. 1.2tr on Mar 24, it included the removal of the import duties on imports of emergency health equipment, relief to daily-wage workers worth Rs200 billion, followed by Rs150bn of cash transfers to low-income families, Rs100bn accelerated tax refunds to the export industry and Rs100bn financial support to small and medium enterprises.

In response to coronavirus crisis, State Bank of Pakistan cut the policy rate twice by a collective 225 basis points to 11% in less than two weeks in March.

SBP also announced two refinancing schemes. First, TERF worth Rs100bn to stimulate investment in new manufacturing plants and machinery at 7% and the second, RFCC worth Rs. 5 billion to support hospitals.

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