Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Sania Nishtar Thursday said cash transfer operations for the Ehsaas Kifalat beneficiaries are being run for financial assistance of the poor families in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. She said the government was taking measures to slow down the spread of the pandemic.
Dr Nishtar assured that the Ehsaas programme would continue to educate citizens on health safety guidelines alongside measures to ensure that the programme initiatives continue to deliver to the people. She also visited an Ehsaas partner loans office in the outskirts of the federal capital along with Qazi Azmat Isa, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), which is the implementing agency of the Ehsaas initiative.
Talking to the media, Dr Nishtar stated that the BISP had discontinued registration activates owing to coronavirus, but at the same time it was trying to strike a balance between safety and assistance, as assistance was the need of the hour.
She said that the BISP was fully aware that it must continue to provide credit in these difficult times as this was the lifeline of the small entrepreneurs and therefore, "we decided not to shut our loan offices". Qazi Azmat Isa maintained that "we will take all precautionary measures on loan centers; we have widely disseminated public awareness material and have developed the SOPs to ensure that there are no queues, and crowds in the field."
"We are not closing down the operations of 1,110 Ehsaas interest-free loans centers," she said, adding that "the goal is that Ehsaas centers operate countrywide as normal." As part of Ehsaas safety and wellness protocols, the officials at the loan centers have been advised to cater to only 3-5 applicants at a time, and ensure the compliance of "social distancing," while serving the Ehsaas borrowers. The informative flyers featuring precautionary guidelines were also distributed among applicants and borrowers.