ISLAMABAD :Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Tuesday expressed the hope that financial and other forums of the world would be able to come up with a plan, enabling developing countries like Pakistan to meet their international obligations and provide relief to the population adversely effected by COVID-19 pandemic.

Talking to Ambassador of China, Yao Jing, who called on him here, he said keeping in view the present circumstances, the World Bank (WB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and G-20 countries were talking about debt relief, without which developing countries would be worst affected.

He said Pakistan looked forward to Chinese support in dealing with this unprecedented situation arising because of this pandemic.

The advisor welcomed the ambassador and thanked the Chinese government for all the assistance it had provided so far to Pakistan in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also shared with the ambassador the details of the economic relief package given by the government to the people whose lives and businesses were affected by the pandemic.

He said during this difficult time, the government had three major priorities including provision of healthcare and safety to its people, cash assistance to the most vulnerable and keeping the wheel of the economy moving in slow but steady pace.

The government, he said, had come up with a comprehensive relief package of worth Rs1.2 trillion, which included, Rs200 billion assistance for workers and labourers, Rs100 billion for supporting SME and agriculture sector, Rs107 billion as sales tax refunds and Rs50 billion income tax refunds from 2014 onward.

Moreover, Ehsaas Programme, through its urgent cash disbursement, was taking care of the most vulnerable in the country.

He said the reduction in petrol and diesel prices and deferment of payment of bills were some other significant steps. Incentivizing the construction sector was also an opportunity for those who were in need of work.

The adviser also discussed with the ambassador about the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the overall growth of the economy of the country as exports and remittances would both suffer as the global economies were in recessionary phase.

He said different economies had different levels of strength to deal with the economic losses and the developing countries would be the worst hit by the impact of this slow down.