ACS KP Shakeel Qadir Khan Remarks on 2nd Business & Labor Survey

Due to appropriate management of lockdown measures and special incentives offered by the government, there was an improvement in the percentage of job losses from 70% in May 2020 to 31% in August 2020, according to the findings of the Business and Labour Survey. The survey was conducted in August 2020 to assess the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and informal jobs engaged in various sectors of the economy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The main findings of the survey were discussed at the roundtable discussion chaired by the Additional Chief Secretary Mr. Shakeel Qadir Khan. The survey interviewed 3,200 business owners and informal wage earners across 32 districts of the province in 8 sectors of the economy including agriculture, construction, food, manufacturing, retail, transportation, services, and wholesale. 13% of the respondents were female. Due to restrictions on movement, the survey was conducted telephonically. The survey findings revealed that construction and manufacturing sectors were the worst hit sectors in terms of loss in sales whereas food and construction sectors recorded highest proportion of layoffs. During the roundtable discussion on the key survey findings, it was disclosed that the Provincial Government’s imposition of smart lockdown measures and the subsequent lifting of restrictions in a timely manner resulted in an increase in the average daily wage rate of labourers from PKR 315 in May 2020 to PKR 565 in August 2020. However, only 40% reported being employed even after the lockdown restrictions were completely lifted, which is an issue demanding special attention by the provincial government authorities. The survey has also measured the awareness and sensitisation levels of the respondents about the health associated risks posed by the pandemic. Across all the sectors, more than 70% of the business owners viewed the threat of COVID-19 as serious as it could be life threatening with serious likelihood of falling sick. More than two-thirds of the labourers (68%) responded that the best strategy to minimize their income losses would be to provide cash transfers through the Ehsaas Programme scheme. More than half of the business owners (about 55%) preferred the government’s assistance through the interest-free loans on easy instalments. As many as 62% of the business owners in the retail and wholesale sectors preferred such loans. Almost 30% of the business owners in construction and manufacturing sectors each preferred tax cuts and reduction in electricity rate from the government. In his concluding remarks, the Additional Chief Secretary said that the survey undertaking was a noteworthy effort under testing circumstances and limited timeframe. He further said that the intent was not to conduct a statistically perfect survey but to perform trend analysis for the government to work with regarding their decisions and priorities. He also added that the Planning and Development Department was currently in the process of conducting the third phase of the Business and Labour Survey for further insights into the patterns and trends of economic and business revival in the province. In the end, he lauded the efforts of all the departments and partners who were involved in the implementation and compilation of the survey activities and findings.

ACS KP Remarks on 2nd Business & Labor Survey
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