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ADB to Provide $ 200 Million to Pakistan for Social Protection

ISLAMABAD – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a loan agreement with the government of Pakistan for additional $200 million to support the institutional strengthening of Pakistan’s flagship social protection program.
The ADB-funded Social Protection Development Project, which was approved in October 2013, enrolled more than 855,000 women beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). The additional funding will ensure continued ADB support for this initiative and assist the BISP in implementing institutional strengthening measures.
The BISP – considered one of the largest social protection programs in South Asia – is part of a broader government strategy called Ehsaas aimed at reducing poverty and inequality. The BISP, which is mainly funded by the Government of Pakistan, supports Ehsaas through cash transfers, poverty alleviation programs and a targeted safety net.
Pakistan’s ADB’s Country Director Xiaohong Yang and Economic Affairs Division Secretary Noor Ahmed signed the loan agreement for additional financing.
BISP Secretary Ali Raza Bhutta has signed the project agreement that accompanies it with the ADB. Pakistan’s Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar attended the signing ceremony.
On this occasion, Ms. Xiaohong said that the ADB was “determined to help the government implement alternative modalities of social protection and poverty reduction that promote human capital improvement and intergenerational poverty reduction.”
Minister Hammad Azhar praised the ADB’s commitment to support Pakistan and its people and said that the Bank’s assistance would further strengthen the national social protection agenda and provide support to the poorest sections of the population as part of the Ehsaas government strategy.
He emphasized that Ehsaas was a multi-pronged strategy encompassing many pro-poor initiatives that not only aimed at reducing poverty, but also included poverty reduction programs.
BISP Secretary Bhutta further added that the government valued the ADB’s long-standing partnership and support for the Ehsaas strategy. He said that “the policy research unit that will also be created under the project will help the BISP develop and fine-tune the design of new initiatives to promote primary education and address growth among the poor population through conditional cash transfers.”
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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