Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr Sania Nishtar has expressed her satisfaction over successful efforts of the government to cope with Covid-19 situation and reaching out to 15 million labourers affected by the pandemic.
During her visit to Provincial Election Commission Office in Peshawar for submitting her documents for forthcoming Senate Election, Dr Sania Nishtar said the situation after the outbreak of Covid-19 was extraordinary which affected people around the globe including Pakistan.
“We approached 15 million daily wagers and others in need through Ehsaas Kafalat Program, delivered cash money to run their household affairs and feed their families. Most of the labourers and daily wagers were stuck far from their homes in other cities because of the closure of inter-city transport,” she said.
“We are thankful to Almighty Allah and the team working under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan accessed these people and addressed their problems,” she said.
Under the umbrella of the programme, she said, the premier formed a labour expert group on the international Labour Day last year, to prepare recommendations for addressing income, health and social security issues of workers in the informal sector.
“In light of those recommendations, the government has taken practical steps to bring daily wagers and labourers into the mainstream,” she added.
She said the group had conducted a consultation process on recommendations for workers of the informal sector to establish labour-friendly social protection institutions.
The economy of Pakistan is large and workers have limited access to labour welfare services, she said, adding that according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Labour Force Survey 2017-18, the informal sector accounted for 71.7% of the employment in main jobs outside agriculture, more in rural areas (75.6%) whereas (68.1%) in urban areas.
“I am grateful to the experts of the group for their suggestions. With their support, we have been able to extend financial support to daily wagers through the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme and to expand it according to the ground realities,” said Dr Nishtar.
Dr Sania Nishtar expressed her confidence that the efforts of the government would help poor to get rid of the vicious circle of poverty besides paving the way for them towards prosperity.
The special assistant said that a survey was being conducted in the country to identify the poor who deserve assistance and help, adding that now it was in completion stage.
She also lauded the role of teachers of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s education department and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Punjab from collecting the required data for the survey.
She said that the prime minister was taking special interest in the development of merged tribal districts to improve the living standard of the natives by providing modern facilities and financial assistance to them.
About the winter situation in the North and South Waziristan, she said that people of these areas who migrated to other districts due to harsh weather would also be registered under the Ehsaas Kafalat Programme.
Replying to a query, she said the incumbent government was committed to fight against poverty and completed the work plan to achieve the target within the specified time.