ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and other stakeholders to resolve complaints of flood victims regarding the disbursement of cash assistance and ensure that they receive the full amount without any deductions.

After complaints were received by the Prime Minister Office, Mr Dar chaired a meeting on Monday to review the payments of cash assistance to flood affected people.

The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Finance Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad, Habib Bank Limited (HBL) President and secretaries of finance division and Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

An official statement said the finance minister has expressed concerns on the malpractices in the disbursement process and directed the officials concerned to ensure availability of cash at all the distribution points and resolve technical issues to ensure timely payments.

Informed sources have said some flood affectees had personally complained to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during his visits to the affected areas.

The complaints were about non-availability or insufficient cash at points of sale (POS), deduction of Rs1,000-Rs2,000 commission by agents and non-functioning of ATMs at HBL in many areas.

The sources added that the prime minister had referred the matter to the finance minister for corrective measures and to ensure that the people get the full amount of Rs25,000 as approved by the federal government.

Disaster preparedness unit

Meanwhile, the international aid continued to arrive in the country as Finnish Red Cross on Monday said it will send a disaster preparedness unit to Pakistan.

The unit will consist of four persons including logistics professionals tasked with coordinating the storage, transport and distribution of the aid supplies arriving in the country.

“The conditions are extremely challenging since the masses of water and landslides have destroyed roads and bridges. The need for humanitarian aid is immense,” Head of International Disaster Manage­ment at the Finnish Red Cross, Marko Korhonen said.

Additionally, the BISP in a statement has said more than Rs61 billion have been distributed among the affected families so far.

The statement added that 2,455,152 families across the country have so far received the Rs25,000 compensation announced by the federal government under the Flood Relief Cash Assistance.

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2022

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