Cash transfers: UK to contribute to Watan Card programme

Will pitch in Rs8.4 billion, pegged to World Bank’s assistance for the same programme.


Shahbaz Rana June 01, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


The United Kingdom on Tuesday announced to give 60 million pounds (Rs8.4 billion) for cash transfers to the flood-affected population besides reiterating commitment to provide 1.4 billion pounds (Rs196 billion) in aid to Pakistan for social sector and governance over four years.


The announcement was made by the visiting British Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell after a meeting with Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

The aid for flood-affected population reflects a policy change on part of the UK that had earlier refused to provide funds for the Citizens’ Damages Compensation Programme (CDCP), said an official of the Finance Ministry.

The UK has pegged the release of money with a World Bank loan for the programme.

While the WB has already approved the loan, the disbursements would be made after completion of the ongoing cost-benefit analysis exercise being conducted at the provincial level, the official added.

The government had announced to give Rs100,000 in cash to each flood-stricken family under the CDCP. The total cost of the programme is Rs160 billion.

Reprioritised aid

According to an official handout, Mitchell said under the new operational plan 2011-15 for Pakistan, the UK had committed almost 1.4 billion pounds in development assistance for poverty reduction, health, education and governance.

According to the reprioritised operational plan, out of 1.4 billion pounds, the UK would give 645 million pounds for the education sector, something they were reluctant to commit to earlier, said a finance ministry official.

The remaining amount would be spent on eradication of poverty and improving governance.

Mitchell said “the UK-Pakistan development cooperation would enhance in the future” and that “Pakistan could become the highest recipient of UK’s assistance by 2015.”

For the outgoing financial year, the UK had announced to give 41 million pounds (Rs5.8 billion) in aid to Pakistan.

Of that, Rs700 million were under additional funding for the earthquake-affected areas and Rs 1.3 billion for national maternal and newborn child healthcare programme.

The UK also committed to give a one-billion-rupee grant for Punjab economic opportunities programme.

Mitchell expressed hope that Pakistan would continue the reform process for achieving macroeconomic stability and high growth.

He said the recent measures implemented to mobilise domestic resources, rationalise expenditures and reform the energy sector would ensure macroeconomic stability.

Shaikh said UK’s budgetary support for poverty reduction, health and education sectors was making significant contribution towards Pakistan’s socio-economic development and achievement of Millennium Development Goals.

He said the UK’s focus on aid effectiveness was an example other donors should emulate.

Both sides expressed their resolve to further deepen and strengthen the economic and development cooperation between the two countries.

Regional trade and various aspects of government’s debt position and the IMF programme also came under discussion.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2011.

COMMENTS (2)

omer khayyam | 10 years ago | Reply

hi. i was really very glad to know that the second phase of the cash payment to the flood affected people is starting in the second week of the July, this news is sort of a vital sign for the people of south Punjab as well as the whole flood affected people. thank you Federal Government for hearing.

A R Khan Yusufzai | 10 years ago | Reply No matter what amount of money is "donated", the money would go into the pockets of privileged families and poor will use broken roads, nothing to eat, face 14 hours load shedding, wait in queue for CNG.
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