The strict quarantine measures implemented by various countries of the world have affected nearly 2.7 billion employees or four out of five of the total workforce in the world. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, The number of unemployed individuals reached about 190 million, The ILO expects this number to increase by up to 25 million. In order to cope with the dire economic consequences of this recession in the world economy, Governments must develop strong policies to respond effectively and provide immediate subsidies and assistance to employees and businesses. Especially those working in hard-hit sectors and in developing countries to enable them to regain their livelihoods during the recovery period.
Pakistan has been one of the countries that have been subjected to a huge amount of economic pressure due to Covid-19, Knowing that it already suffers from difficult economic conditions and high unemployment rates. But it has succeeded in turning these challenges into opportunities for 500,000 unemployed people, providing them with suitable job opportunities as part of the government's 10 Billion Tree Tsunami programme as part of the Green Stimulus initiative.
The Green Stimulus Initiative aims to achieve two main objectives: Providing job opportunities and restoring normal conditions in the country, Including planting trees, reviving protected areas and improving sanitation with the help of the unemployed, including youth, women and workers who have lost their jobs and returned to rural areas.
Prime Minister Imran Khan's ambitious five-year programme, launched in 2018, also aims to tackle climate challenges such as rising temperatures, floods, droughts and other extreme weather conditions in the country. The programme was initially halted due to social distancing instructions put in place by the government to mitigate the spread of the virus, but the prime minister issued a decision last month to exempt the programme and allow the forestry agency to resume its work to create 63,600 jobs. This has enabled the unemployed to leave their villages to work on the project.
A recent assessment by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics found that, due to the global lockdown, up to 19 million people could be laid off, almost 70% of them in the Punjab province.
As for the high unemployment rate, It will remain a challenge for many governments as they seek to deal with the economic recession caused by COVID-19. In order to overcome economic challenges, Governments should always look for new and innovative ways to create jobs and help the workforce to reduce the impact of these challenges on citizens and ensure a rapid economic recovery.