ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced contribution of PKR one billion while launching the BISP Endowment Fund and BISP Graduation Programme here at the BISP headquarters in Islamabad. The Prime Minister appreciated the working of BISP programme with an outreach of 5.7 million women. He also wished that the graduation program, which is now targeting 5 districts, should be expanded to include more districts and beneficiaries.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister also unveiled the plaques for the BISP Endowment Fund and BISP Graduation Programme.
Addressing the ceremony, the Prime Minister said that the government takes pride in the programme that has seen an increase in allocation and cash transfers by over 50 percent. He said that the budget was allotted the programme was kept large as the government believed in helping rid the country of poverty. The Prime Minister said the graduation programme under which the most deserving of the beneficiaries were being paid lump sum Direct Cash to help stand on their feet by launching their business would play a key role in alleviating poverty. He also appreciated the second intervention of graduation model i.e. Business Incubation for Self-Employment (BISE) for playing a key role in community led poverty eradication.
He was appreciative of the programme and said that any social net that was catering to the poorest of the poor was vital for any society. He spoke high of the philanthropists and development partners who were making the programme a success and playing their part in supporting the government. He said he had high hopes from the beneficiaries as well as they would contribute in the progress and prosperity of the country.
Mr. Abbasi said he believed that the allocations for the programme need to be further increased and should target efforts to eradicate poverty in the next five years. He expressed the hope that the next government would continue to expand the programme and keep its focus on the Graduation Programme besides taking measures for expanding its volume and scope. He also lauded the role of Chairperson of BISP Marvi Memon and her team for their dedicated efforts in making the programme a success.
Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon thanked the Prime Minister and said it was reflective of his government’s commitment to the objective of alleviating poverty from the country.
She recalled Prime Minister Abbasi’s last speech wherein he hoped that the programme ends after eliminating poverty from the country and said till the achievement of that goal the BISP would continue to reach out to the poorest of the poor with complete dedication.
She said the BISP has funds of Rs 121 billion that were being used for the vital Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCTs), Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) such as Waseela-e-Taleem as well as many complimentary initiatives. She said the focus of the programme was on women empowerment and pointed that three Directors General of the programme were also women.
She also pointed to the recent inking of a MOU with the Acid Survivors Foundation courtesy of EU funding on getting rid of violence against women within the BISP beneficiary community. She termed it as an important initiative to ensure that no woman suffers mental or physical agony in silence.
She said BISP would continue to serve the masses and added that she looks “forward to many more achievements with Prime Minister Abbasi and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).” She also appreciated her staff, particularly those in the fields for making the BISP a success and for achieving the cherished goal of being at the top in global safety net organisations.
Earlier, Secretary BISP Omar Hamid Khan thanked the Prime Minister for his continuous support to BISP and hoped that BISP will continue to reach out to most deserving communities across the country. He added that BISP Graduation Programme will lead towards eradication of poverty in meaningful terms, while the Endowment Fund would supplement these efforts on a sustainable basis.
Mr. Shoaib Sultan Khan, Chairman NRSP also spoke on the occasion and narrated his vast experience in the service of the communities. He also appreciated the vision of BISP towards graduating its beneficiaries out of poverty, and termed it a way forward. He further added that if the programme continues with full potential, it can eradicate poverty from the country within five years.
Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Jean-François Cautain said that EU was a partner in development of Pakistan and supports the changing field of BISP from the cash transfer mechanism to the graduation model. He also appreciated the creation of Endowment Fund of BISP.
The Graduation Programme of BISP is supported by a grant of US$ 35 million from Asian Development Bank (ADB).