Govt to pay three months electricity bills for small businesses

: Hammad Azhar
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar on Monday announced the government has allocated Rs75 billion to provide relief to labourers and daily wagers who have lost their jobs due to ongoing coronavirus lockdown. 
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad after a meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), the federal minister said this amount has been allocated on the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan to provide relief to the common people.
The minister said under the programme 12,000 rupees each will be distributed among four to six million people who will be included in Ehssas beneficiaries. He said a portal to this effect will be launched after getting federal cabinet’s nod tomorrow.
The federal minister further said labourers and daily wagers can get themselves registered by accessing the portal and filling the required information there. He said this process can be completed in around three minutes and the eligible people will be finalised after applying.
Hammad Azhar said the ECC has also approved another package for small businesses worth Rs50 billion under which the government will pay their electricity bill for three months of May, June and July. He said small businesses having a commercial connection of less than five kilowatt and industrial consumers less than 70KW can benefit from this initiative.
He said 95 percent commercial and eight percent industrial connection holders will be benefited from this facility. He said around 3.5 million people running small businesses like tailor shops, small markets, and industrial units will take advantage of this initiative. He said this programme will equally be available for the people of Azad Kashmir as well.
He said the government is going to approximate their energy usage for the months of May, June and July, when they resume operations and pay their bills. In addition, the government is working on a financial aid package for small businesses through which loans will be given without a guarantor.
These schemes will be put before the cabinet on Tuesday for approval. Azhar clarified that the scheme will apply to commercial and industrial meters, both registered and unregistered. He called it a policy instrument to reach the maximum number of sectors.
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