BISP funds ‘dou­bled’ de­spite scan­dals

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Chair­per­son for the Be­nazir In­come Sup­port Pro­gramme (BISP) Marvi Me­mon has an­nounced that the fed­eral govern­ment has 'dou­bled' the funds for the BISP ben­e­fi­cia­ries in or­der to tackle the in­creas­ing poverty in Pak­istan.

While talk­ing at a sem­i­nar in Gwadar, Marvi Me­mon said that the em­pow­er­ment of women in Pak­istan can help elim­i­nate poverty in the re­gion. She added that the num­ber of BISP ben­e­fi­cia­ries in the Makran divi­sion had reached 26,545 which in­di­cated a high ra­tio of peo­ple liv­ing below the poverty line.

She said that the fed­eral govern­ment is sin­cere in its ef­forts to erad­i­cate poverty and re­mains com­mit­ted to pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to the de­serv­ing fam­i­lies all across the coun­try. "The fed­eral govern­ment wants to em­power women by fi­nan­cially help­ing them though the BISP to help them be­come part of the main­stream," said the Chair­per­son BISP.

The Health Min­is­ter of Balochis­tan, Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch praised the ef­forts gen­er­ated through the BISP and sug­gested that the num­ber of ben­e­fi­cia­ries in Balochis­tan should be in­creased due to the back­ward­ness and poverty in the prov­ince. Pre­vi­ously, the Queen of Nether­land, Queen Max­ima, had praised the Be­nazir In­come Sup­port Pro­gramme (BISP) dur­ing her visit to Pak­istan. The Queen ex­pressed her ap­pre­ci­a­tion to­wards the way BISP is help­ing mil­lions across Pak­istan. The Queen of Nether­land vis­ited Pak­istan as the United Na­tion's ( UN) Spe­cial Ad­vo­cate for In­clu­sive Fi­nance for De­vel­op­ment. She said that Pak­istan is in the right po­si­tion to move ahead in terms of econ­omy and de­vel­op­ment. The Chair­per­son for the BISP, Marvi Me­mon, briefed the Queen on the progress BISP has made thus far for the poor­est sec­tion of Pak­istan. The BISP has ben­e­fited more than 5.2 mil­lion peo­ple all over the coun­try.

BISP plans to up­date its cur­rent debit card sys­tem to a bio­met­ric sys­tem of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion in or­der to in­crease the ef­fi­ciency of pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to ben­e­fi­cia­ries. With the bio­met­ric sys­tem of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance will only be pro­vided through fin­ger­prints.

The Chair­per­son of the BISP Marvi Me­mon pro­posed the bio­met­ric up-gra­da­tion dur­ing a meet­ing which was chaired by the Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Fi­nance Ishaq Dar. The Chair­per­son BISP also said that the num­ber of cash points will also be in­creased across the coun­try in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate the ben­e­fi­cia­ries. A new bank­ing model for the BISP and up­dates re­gard­ing the Na­tional So­cio-Eco­nomic Registry were also dis­cussed dur­ing the meet­ing.

The BISP was launched in 2008 to pro­vide fi­nan­cial aid to de­serv­ing fam­i­lies all over the coun­try. Ini­tially, the cash trans­fer amount was Rs. 1000 per month which was later in­creased to Rs. 1500 per month for el­i­gi­ble fam­i­lies that re­quire fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance. The Na­tion­wide Poverty Score­card Sur­vey re­ported that more than 7.7 mil­lion fam­i­lies in Pak­istan were liv­ing below the cut-off score of 16.17 (below poverty line). The BISP was de­vel­oped with the ob­jec­tive of pro­vid­ing sup­port to the de­serv­ing fam­i­lies in Pak­istan dur­ing the eco­nomic re­ces­sion.

An­other as­pect of the BISP is the ac­cu­sa­tion of ma­jor cor­rup­tion scan­dals that it has faced in re­cent times. In 2015, the Au­di­tor Gen­eral of Pak­istan de­tected huge fi­nan­cial cor­rup­tion while cit­ing the au­dit re­port for fis­cal years 2013 and 2014. Ac­cord­ing to the au­dit re­port, an amount of Rs. 2,049.703 mil­lion was paid to 683,235 ben­e­fi­cia­ries who ei­ther did not have a Com­put­er­ized Na­tional Iden­tity Card (CNIC) or the thumb im­pres­sions on the CNIC's were not up­dated. More­over, the re­port stated that the BISP paid Rs. 4,413.925 mil­lion to five com­mer­cial banks for on­ward dis­tri­bu­tion which was seen as an 'un­due fa­vor'. The to­tal num­ber of 'in­el­i­gi­ble' ben­e­fi­cia­ries across the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to the au­dit re­port, has reached 683,235. The pay­ments were made by Bank Al-Falah, Habib Bank Ltd, Tameer Bank, Sum­mit Bank and United Bank Ltd.

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