KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari indicated on Monday that the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) would be expanded and the matter would be incorporated into PPP’s manifesto for the coming general elections.
“It’s a legacy of Benazir Bhutto that the BISP is being run transparently,” he said. “The programme has achieved success to a large extent. We will expand it to ensure employment of skilled people.”
Addressing a ceremony held at Bilawal House for distribution of prizes among 5,000 fresh graduates, the president said the programme had been appreciated worldwide because of its transparency, objectivity and efficiency. The BISP has reached out to over seven million families in a short span of four years.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, BISP Chairperson Farzana Raja, Higher Education Commission’s Chairperson Shahnaz Wazir Ali, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari attended the ceremony.
“It’s one of a few programmes from a third-world country which has been recognised by international institutions. It’s purely because of persistent efforts of BISP board members that the programme has become a success,” Mr Zardari said.
He said the society had accepted the BISP because it was in accordance with local culture of savings under which families organised ‘committees’ to meet their major expenses. The programme is now a part of culture which is needed to be expanded and made part of the PPP manifesto.
The BISP chairperson spoke about achievements of the programme.
Ms Raja said 10,000 youths had been equipped with vocational skills to enable them to make their living in a respectable manner. Another 150,000 youths would be trained in different trades and vocations and efforts would be made to find overseas jobs for them.
APP adds: The president thanked the international community and partners for their support to the programme which had brought about a revolutionary change in the lives of the poor and dispossessed.
Mr Zardari said he was personally monitoring the progress of the Poverty Scorecard Survey and other initiatives of the BISP. He said he was satisfied that work on the survey was progressing well.
He said it would be ensured that public money was transparently utilised and for this purpose the BISP had introduced mobile phone banking.