Government of Pakistan
Benazir Income Support Programme
IMF calls for immediate measures to address stunted Growth and Malnutrition
Terms BISP Performance satisfactory and in line with International Best Practices to address poverty
ISLAMABAD – A delegation of International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), as part of their on-going visit to Pakistan to assess the economical and financial challenges faced by the country here at BISP headquarters on Thursday.
The IMF delegation was led by Harald Finger, Advisor and Team Leader and Ms. Taline Koranchilian Deputy Director Middle East and Central Asia, whereas Chairperson BISP Dr Sania Nishtar and Secretary BISP Omar Hamid Khan BISP along with senior management represented BISP.
Mr. Harald Finger, Advisor and Team Leader IMF in his brief remarks not only appreciated the BISP performance and contribution towards the National social protection and helping the vulnerable to fight poverty while addressing the issue of malnutrition and stunted growth. Mr. Finger pointed out the overall economic challenges faced by the country and said that social protection is one of the key areas to be focused. He added that BISP has impressive engagement working model to address the wider canvas of social protection.
Secretary BISP Omar Hamid Khan briefed the delegation on various initiatives, programmes and activities of BISP as well as its national and international partnerships. BISP is contributing towards women empowerment by supporting 5.7 Million marginalized women of this country, through Cash Transfer programme (both conditional and unconditional transfers). BISP strongly believes in imparting International excellence, utilization of modern technology and implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for the marginalized population, in line with international standards, he added. Secretary apprised the delegation that BISP has state-of-the-art social researcher’s team from Harvard, MIT and LSE to develop Social Protection models. They were also apprised of the public private partnerships of BISP which have contributed towards innovative approaches of tackling poverty and providing opportunities to vulnerable women to seek socio-economic empowerment.
BISP Chairperson Dr. Sania Nishtar in her remarks said that her role is to address the issues of Governance and policy matters related to the board meetings. She said, the organization has zero tolerance for corruption and her job is to make the organization efficient and transparent. She foresee the growth of Data Engine of BISP through National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) in the years to come as the sole source of information sharing to facilitate the national social protection work in the country on a massive scale.
Explaining further Secretary BISP said, that on average in Pakistan one out of every three children, is suffering from stunted growth. The case in Sindh and Southern Punjab is even worse. There are 2.5 Million women affected due to this every year. The rate is all time staggering high and alarming, and demands immediate measures to respond. BISP has formulated the strategy to address the looming issue of stunted growth and related health problems. It was also shared by the IMF delegation that to ensure the sustainability of the program financial support is also required on an assured basis to the programme.
Seniors officers of BISP also briefed about the broad contours of their programs related to NSER, Complementary initiatives and Cash Transfers.
It was also conveyed to the IMF team that 2.4 million children have been enrolled in schools under the Waseela-e-Taleem programme. They were also briefed on the future plans of BISP where it intends to bring in 8 million beneficiaries in its fold after update of the National Socio Economic Registry, thus contributing to the government agenda.