COVID-19: Policy Options for Pakistan

The rapid spread of COVID-19 in Pakistan has led to several governance challenges. The public policy response during 2020 should prioritize relief in the short term, rehabilitation in the medium term and livelihood asset development in the long-term. Since the spread of the disease in Pakistan, around 11, 155 cases have been confirmed and around 237 deaths have occurred. A global pandemic such as COVID-19 has surfaced after almost 100 years, into a highly globalized, economically integrated world system. In addition to the huge human costs, the effects to the world economy are going to be profound. In developing countries such as Pakistan, where around 71 per cent of non-agriculture employment is in the informal sector and many of which are daily-wage earners, the economic repercussions of the disease are already surfacing. Social distancing and working from home may not be an option for many, contributing to the health and economic vulnerability of a significant segment of Pakistan’s population. The pandemic is also very likely to effect the poverty rate, causing an increase from the baseline 24% to 34 -56% depending on a low impact scenario or a high impact scenario respectively. Similarly, related to the scale of lockdown imposed, the number of unemployed can vary from 3 million in a selective lockdown to 18 million in a full lockdown. Moreover, a GDP loss of 2.4% has been estimated as a result of COVID-19. 

Click here to read or download this policy document.