The Asian Development Bank has approved a further $200 million grant for the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). In a press release on Monday The Director of Public Management Financial Sector, and Trade for ADB’s Central and West Asia Department, Tariq Niazi, while announcing the grant said that, “Social protection programs like the BISP are crucial to ensure that the poorest segments of the population do not go further into poverty, especially at a time when the country is facing difficult macroeconomic challenges.” He further added that, “The ADB is committed to helping Pakistan implement alternative modalities for social protection and poverty reduction such as asset transfer programs that promote improved human capital and reduce inter generational poverty.”
He also said that, “A policy research unit will also be established within BISP to help monitor and improve the performance of ongoing programs and design new cost-effective and evidence-based initiatives such as poverty graduation programs and conditional cash transfers for health and nutrition in line with global test practices.”
ADB officials said that the additional funding would strengthen the local institutions of the country and would improve the financial management of the BISP program. The ADB social protection development project approved in 2013 has so far 855,000 beneficiaries in Pakistan, who get a fixed amount under the BISP.