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Extend economic relief to the poor, govt urged



Extend economic relief to the poor, govt urged

Mar 29, 2020 - 20:44

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Economic affairs experts say the government should reduce taxes and house and shop rents in areas where lockdown or coronavirus related restrictions are imposed to check the virus spread.

The global death toll from the coronavirus has soared to 31,000, with the number of infections standing at more than 600,000.

The deadly virus, which originated three months ago in China’s Wuhan city, has spread to nearly 200 countries around the globe.

According to international media reports, at least 660,000 people have been infected and around 31,000 others killed by the pandemic.

About 140,000 patients have recovered and returned to normal life. At least, 3,200 people have died in China, more than 10,000 in Italy and 2,200 in the US.

A day earlier, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said six new coronavirus cases had emerged in Herat and one in northern Sar-i-Pul, taking Afghanistan’s tally to 117.

Three people have lost their lives to COVID-19 while five patients have recuperated in Afghanistan so far.

The Afghan government has ordered closure of shops and business places in a number of provinces and has restricted people’s and vehicular movement in major cities.

The Ministry of Interior has said those who violate the restrictions will be dealt with legally.

However, some small shops, particularly vendors, are complaining about their inability to stay home owing to economic woes.

Saifuddin Sehon, who teaches economics at Kabul University, told Pajhwok Afghan News on Sunday that in other countries, quarantine efforts were successful, but in Afghanistaninfo-icon, the restrictions were imposed without keeping in mind people’s economic situation.

He said Afghanistan’s 45 percent population lived in extreme poverty and if they stayed home during daytime, they would go to beds empty stomach at night.  “There are people who scavenge the trash for food.”

He said he did not think the government would provide food items to people at their doorsteps like in other countries but it should provide only breed to impoverished families.

He said the government should identify and provide food to poor families from its own budget in cities in order they stay home.

He said prices could not be controlled by closing shops and issuing presidential decrees, but could be stabilized by paving the way for imports.

Sehon said trucks loaded with food items remained stranded at the country’s land ports and the government should enable their movement.

The government should reduce rent of shops and houses in areas where corona related restrictions are imposed.

Another economic affairs expert Qayum Arif said the only way to check the deadly virus spread was quarantine measures and restriction of movement.

He hoped the government would fulfill its promises with deserving families in this time of trouble.

Finance Ministry spokesman Shamroz Khan Masjidi said lockdowns in cities had confronted the country’s economy with challenges, but the government was working on a plan to address the situation.



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