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18.5 million people estimated to be rendered jobless due to coronavirus

18.5 million people estimated to be rendered jobless due to coronavirus

Saad Ali Rana
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The Ministry of Planning has estimated that 12.3 million to 18.5 million people in the country will lose their jobs and the economy will sustain Rs2 trillion to Rs2.5 trillion losses in just three months due to “moderate to severe shocks from the coronavirus outbreak”.

The ministry in an inter-ministerial meeting on Thursday discussed the preliminary estimates, which are based on information received from various government entities and initial research conducted by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.

How did they measure the number?

The assessment is based on limited, moderate and complete lockdown. The country seems to have already passed the limited level and is at the moderate phase in terms of restrictions on movement and is inching towards complete restrictions. The ministry has assessed losses at Rs1.2 trillion in limited lockdown scenario, Rs1.96 trillion in moderate and Rs2.5 trillion in case of complete restrictions on movement, which symbolises a curfew-like situation.

The government has assessed the losses on the basis of the impact of the restrictions – imposed to stop the COVID-19 from spreading – on business, tax revenue, international trade and cost of unemployment for three months.

The initial official estimates are higher than the first independent assessment by two former government functionaries, Dr Hafiz Pasha and Shahid Kardar, who put the losses in the range of Rs891 billion to Rs1.6 trillion in case of less to severe shocks.

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