ISLAMABAD: “Countless” flood-affected people are still awaiting humanitarian support which has not been provided to them, so far, due to the shortage of funds, it was revealed in a briefing given to a Senate panel by the BISP on Tuesday.
In addition, a budget of at least 103 billion rupees was required to provide adequate assistance to the flood-hit masses but only Rs70 billion were provided, the Senate Standing Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety was briefed by the officials of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
Naseebullah Bazai presided over the Senate committee’s meeting.
Till date, the BISP has distributed Rs70 billion among 2.8 million flood-affected families with the provision of Rs25,000 per family, according to the briefing.
The data of the families in the flood-affected areas was provided to the BISP by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) with the approval of the provincial governments concerned, the Senate panel was briefed.
In total, 78 districts countrywide were affected by the flash floods—34 districts of Balochistan, 22 districts of Sindh, 19 districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and three districts of Punjab, the briefing suggested.
The committee decided to summon Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Shazia Marri and Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lieutenant General Inam Haider Malik to get relevant briefings on the issue of the plight of flood-affectees against the backdrop of funds shortage.
Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) Amir Fida Paracha briefed the Senate committee on the PBM’s functioning.
He said the PBM requested the federal government to provide budget of Rs12 billion in the current financial year but only Rs6 billion were provided. The provision of half the required budget was drastically affecting PBM’s relief and assistance operations, Paracha stated, adding Rs6.5 million were provided to the PBM in the last fiscal year.
Paracha said no PBM project was closed down in Balochistan and only the PBM’s facilitation centres in Chaman and Gwadar cities of Balochistan and Warsak city of the KP were closed down due to the notably thin number of beneficiaries.
He said the PBM increased its healthcare and education budget for Balochistan from Rs74 million to Rs99 million, the budget to tackle child labour in Balochistan was increased from Rs49.6 billion to Rs63 million and the budget for women empowerment in Balochistan was increased from Rs59 million to Rs101 million.
The committee recommended that the required budget of the PDM be provided to it by the federal government forthwith to ensure that the PBM’s humanitarian operations were not disrupted or affected.
Secretary BISP Yusuf Khan, Additional Secretary Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr Farah Masood, Chief Operating Officer Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) Nadir Gul Barech,and Senate panel members attended the meeting.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022