LAHORE: Punjab could face cumulative economic losses of $18-20 billion – equal to 10-12 per cent of the size of its economy, in a worst case scenario, should the Covid-19 lockdown in the province continue for three months.
The job losses accompanying the drop in the provincial economic output are projected to be in the range of five to eight million and almost all the people will find themselves out of job are expected to be immediately pushed below the poverty line.
The province has been put in lockdown for the last six weeks with most non-essential businesses and services shuttered down as part of social distancing measures to halt the spread of the Covid-19 in the province. The disease has infected around 5,400 people and killed 81 in the province till Sunday. The contagion is feared to spread faster after relaxation of lockdown restrictions on public movement and reopening of some non-essential businesses. The disease has affected urban areas more than rural ones.
The estimates about the economic and job losses have been projected in a new strategy developed by the Punjab Planning and Development Board in response to the challenges faced by the province in the wake of Covid-19 and its containment strategy: Responsive Investment in Social Protection & Economic Stimulus (RISE) Framework (RISE Punjab).