David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group visited headquarters of BISP on Friday. David Malpass was leading a delegation consisting of two regional vice presidents and other high ranking officials from the Bank. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation/ Chairperson BISP Dr Sania Nishtar welcomed the World Bank's President and his delegation and briefed them on the importance attached by the government to the uplift of the marginalized segments of the society and the positive contribution Ehsaas is making to address poverty and inequality in Pakistan, says a press release issued here.

The chairperson informed the delegation on government's multi-sectoral Ehsaas Program and stated that despite limited fiscal space, social protection has been placed high on the government's agenda and significantly increased resources have been allocated for social protection. She said that fragmented social protection programs are being integrated at one platform to avoid duplication.

The chairperson also informed Malpass about on new payment model of Kifalat program, which will promote financial inclusion of women through one woman one bank account. During the briefing, Malpass was also apprised of the governance reforms undertaken at BISP to bring transparency and efficiency in operations. Dr Sania Nishtar also described the mother and child health and nutrition initiative of BISP, recently approved by the BISP Board. She said that the intervention would be piloted in eight districts during the current fiscal year.

Malpass expressed keen interest in the initiative and appreciated that government of Pakistan is taking steps to address the stunting and wasting problems of the poorest section of the society. He also had an interactive session with BISP beneficiaries who, as a part of BISP's collaboration efforts with the private sector had improved their livelihood potential and had started their small businesses.

Malpass heard the stories of the beneficiaries and asked them questions about the use they made of the cash transfers from the government and the ways in which they embarked on the journey of self reliance. He noted with great interest that these poor women spend their quarterly stipend primarily on food and education needs of their children. He also asked the beneficiaries about their access to banking services and whether they used their stipends for savings or to meet their immediate expenditure needs.

Dr Sania Nishtar explained that under Ehsaas, one of the main themes is to encourage collaboration with the private sector and to create synergies in the public and private efforts to bring people out of the vicious cycle of poverty. She explained that these beneficiaries were from among the beneficiaries identified by BISP and then helped by private sector partners to establish their small businesses.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019