Supporting small and medium enterprises, food security, and evolving social protection mechanisms to deal with COVID-19 in Pakistan
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections, Pakistan enforced a strict lockdown and quarantine system. This system, however, is negatively affecting many sectors of the economy, with a disproportionately high impact on the livelihoods of the most vulnerable. Among the most affected sectors are food production and disrupted food supply chains, where small and medium enterprises are facing massive layoffs or closures.
This project will provide evidence-based advice to the government of Pakistan to respond to the crisis, guide rapid policy responses, and develop measures to build resilience for the post-COVID period. It will generate and feed information to a national food security dashboard to facilitate the transportation of food commodities from surplus districts to deficit districts, contributing to food security. The project will also map formal and informal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country and provide evidence on the effectiveness of the current stimulus package to strengthen national SME policy.
In addition, given that existing social safety nets are insufficient to support the 60% of Pakistan’s labour force working in informal undocumented sectors of the economy, there is an urgent need for an in-depth analysis of existing social protection mechanisms to devise a roadmap for a universal social protection regime in Pakistan. The project will help fill information and action gaps and serve as a bridge between policymakers and the needs of millions of daily wage earners in rural and urban areas, leading to positive impacts on the livelihoods of millions of vulnerable Pakistanis.