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ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has expressed concern over the malpractices in payments of cash assistance to the flood affectees on Monday.

The finance minister made these remarks during a meeting presided over by him to review the payments of cash assistance to flood affectees. He said that the government will utilise all available resources for the rescue and assistance of the flood affectees.

Sources said that the BISP informed the meeting about the illegal deduction from the actual payment of the beneficiary is a persistent challenge by POS agents.

The BISP secretary briefed the meeting that almost 90 per cent of beneficiaries have been paid cash assistance. The remaining beneficiaries will receive the payment within the next five days. He further informed that there were a few complaints regarding malpractices in payment at ATMs and POS.

About the payment mechanism, the meeting was informed in step one funds are transferred to the bank through a clearing process, for onward credit into beneficiary accounts maintained with HBL while in step two beneficiary approaches HBL POS Agent or a BVS ATM to withdraw cash after providing biometric verification. The meeting was further informed that retailers pay beneficiaries on their own and HBL reimburses their accounts with a time lag of a few days, despite the fact that the BISP makes full payment to banks.

Retailers usually arrange funds from creditors from the informal sector on interest which is an added cost to them.

Take flood havoc into account, Dar pleads with IMF

The governor SBP and president HBL also updated the meeting on the situation and informed that a big volume of the relief cash has been distributed to the flood affectees and also informed about taking measures to address the complaints.

Dar stressed the SBP and the HBL to redress the grievances of the flood affectees and take every possible step for the smooth and actual distribution of cash relief to the affectees. He further directed to ensure the availability of cash at all the distribution points, the resolution of cyber-related issues to ensure timely payment of relief cash to flood affectees by strengthening the cash distribution system.

Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, the governor SBP, the president HBL, the secretary finance, the secretary BISP, and senior officers attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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