Reducing poverty: Baitul Mal, BISP funds get major boost

Grant for Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund lowered.

Sehrish Wasif June 04, 2016
Grant for Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund lowered. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The government has doubled the budgetary allocation for Pakistan Baitul Mal in the upcoming fiscal, while the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has taken preference over other poverty alleviation schemes.

The government has increased the BISP allocation to Rs115 billion for 2016-17 – up by Rs13 billion from the Rs102 billion set aside last year.

The Marvi Memon-led BISP, which was launched in 2008 under the previous government, provides financial assistance to low-income families through bimonthly cash payments. Its number of beneficiaries has increased from 1.7 million households in 2008-9 to approximately 4.7 million till Dec 2014.

The BISP’s annual disbursements also rose from Rs16 billion in the first year of its launch to Rs65 billion in 2013-14, according to its website.

In his budget speech on Friday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced yet another increase in the BISP allocation for the next fiscal year.

He said an estimated 5.3 million families would benefit from the BISP grants by the close of this financial year. The number of beneficiary families will increase to 5.6 million in the upcoming fiscal, he added.

Baitul Mal funds

Dar also announced a significant increase in the budgetary allocation for Pakistan Baitul Mal, doubling the funds to Rs4 billion from Rs2 billion in the outgoing fiscal.

However, the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) witnesses a notable drop in its grants from Rs2.3 billion in 2015-16 to Rs 1.58 billion for 2016-17, according to the budget documents.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2016.


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