Fact Check: Is the news of COVID-19 funds being used for interest payment factually true?

Media reports claiming that the federal government has approved the use of COVID-19 funds for the interest payment are factually incorrect- Finance Ministry

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COVID

The Finance Ministry has rejected the media reports alleging that the federal government has decided to utilize PKR 10 billion from the PM’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to pay due on loans taken to scrap circular debt.

According to the official statement published by the Ministry, media reports claiming that the federal government has approved the use of COVID-19 funds for the interest payment are factually incorrect.

PM’s COVID-19 Relief Fund

Financial funds allotted for the PM’s COVID-19 Relief Fund will be utilized only for providing cash assistance to the most vulnerable families and daily wagers.

Moreover, the government has decided to take 16 million families under the emergency cash assistance program against the 5 million households decided earlier.

The statement added that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) meeting allowed PKR10 billion allocation from the Fiscal Stimulus Package worth PKR 1.2 trillion as a temporary arrangement for interest payment on PKR 200 billion Pakistan Energy Sukuk-II.

The federal government had allocated PKR 100 billion for relief on power and gas utility bills for underprivileged families in the Fiscal Stimulus Package. The statement concludes that the government has already provided utility bills for the next three months to the households.

The ECC settlement is nothing but a reallocation of reserves from the Fiscal Stimulus Package worth PKR 1.2 trillion. The allotment of funds has no link with the Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.

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