Budget 2012: Govt likely to slash social safety net funding

Published: May 31, 2011
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Only Rs45 billion is allocated to the Benazir Income Support Programme.
 DESIGN: MOHSIN ALAM

Only Rs45 billion is allocated to the Benazir Income Support Programme. DESIGN: MOHSIN ALAM

ISLAMABAD: 

The government’s flagship social safety net programme, the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), may get only 37 per cent of its required budget for the next financial year, according to financial ministry sources.

The BISP management had asked for Rs120 billion to give monthly stipends of Rs1,000 to seven million households, but the government is considering allocating it only Rs45 billion. Over the past two fiscal years, the BISP has not been able to meet its target.

The proposed allocation effectively represents a slash in BISP funding. In the fiscal year 2009-10, the government had poured Rs70 billion into the BISP, for providing coverage to five million households. However, BISP statistics show that there were actually fewer than three million beneficiaries.

In the current fiscal year, the BISP was allocated a 50-billion-rupee budget out of which, according to finance ministry sources, Rs32.5 billion have been disbursed. A BISP spokesman says that so far more than Rs35 billion have been given to 3.2 million beneficiaries. He expects the full amount allocated to the BISP will be spent by the
end of the fiscal year and the final figures will include four million beneficiaries.

“The number of beneficiaries is increasing after the nationwide poverty survey was launched and the eligible families were included in the BISP net after the completion of the data entry process,” the spokesman added.

A senior finance ministry official said because of administrative constraints, the BISP could not reach as many households as it had originally planned, adding that the finance ministry had decided to make a realistic allocation, instead of putting more funds into a programme which cannot fully deliver.

The sources said the BISP and the finance ministry are trying to arrive at a consensus on the budget allocation issue.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Thinking
    May 31, 2011 - 10:01AM

    Why would those poor people need the money? The army needs to upgrade it’s arsenal to prepare for the HUGE threat from India. They need new Orion helicopters now that they lost two of theirs to their own strategic assets. Bicharey Army waley!Recommend

  • Noore Jehan
    May 31, 2011 - 10:46AM

    Why 32 Lakh beneficiary-sixteen and half crore poor,saidpohs,middle class has been driven to abject poverty by the cursed corrupt coalition cartel of PPP-Z,MQM,ANP,MLQ? BISF programme in was a pre election rigging from day one since it carried political connotations since it carried PPP leaders name of Benazir and funded from public exchequer and not funded by PPP or or from Benzir or Zardari bank accounts but benefit their political electorate chances.70 lakh voters can be such purchased on public welfare while they starve.Election Commission and opposition should look into it and not sleep over national issues.Recommend

  • May 31, 2011 - 1:15PM

    I don’t think so govt. need to increase the BISP budget, they just need to disburse those Rs 45 billion to the poor. Recommend

  • May 31, 2011 - 1:44PM

    Mired by corruption the program was taking money from tax payers and paying to people just for a PR campaign in name of Bhuttos. Why not set up factories and give people training and jobs.Recommend

  • Abu Abdullah
    May 31, 2011 - 2:02PM

    Benazir income support program = cheap vote buying tactic.

    Stop buying votes from my TAX MONEY!Recommend

  • tric
    May 31, 2011 - 7:31PM

    “give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, tell him how to fish, you feed him for life time” – Giving monthly stipend of PKR 1000 is not going to make any difference, instead even the 45 billion properly utilized on skill development of poor & underprivileged, its going to have a massive impact on their economic well-being.. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 1, 2011 - 6:49AM

    The honest Pakistanis should ask “what % of the total budget including the defense expenses was spent on BISP? The largest portion of the total budget is going to waste on the terrorist supporters who have not done a damn thing for the poor masses of Pakistan. While a small fraction cannot be allocated to poor Pakistanis. Political and personal hate should only be limited to the election time only and not for the rest of our lives. Recommend

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