KARACHI: The Pakistan Economic Survey (PES) 2022-23 unveiled on Thursday that 8.96 million people were currently benefiting from the Benazir Income Support Programme’s (BISP) core project, Benazir Kafaalat Programme (BKP), with Rs128.9 billion disbursed in the fiscal year 2022-23.

BISP is a targeted unconditional cash transfer (UCT) programme aimed at eradicating extreme and chronic poverty and empowering women. It has a nationwide presence with a budget of Rs400bn.

BKP is its core programme initiated in 2008 whose targets are registered through a scientific mode of survey.

“The current number of enrolled/registered beneficiaries of Kafaalat is around 8.96m. Target is to enhance the number to 9m by June 2023,” the PES stated.

It added that under the BISP board’s decision on December 3 to include the transgender community in BKP, 80 transgender persons have been enrolled so far as beneficiaries. They are receiving an amount of Rs7,000 each.

On the overall poverty outlook, the survey warned that there was an “urgent need to correct course” on poverty reduction efforts in the country. The survey said the pace of poverty reduction had stalled due to “dim global growth prospects” because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“By 2030, the poverty rate is expected to be seven per cent, much higher than the target of 3pc. Reaching the target looks increasingly hard. This is an urgent need to correct course,” the survey reads.

It further added that preliminary estimates suggest that as a “direct consequence” of 2022’s catastrophic floods, the national poverty rate may increase to 3.7-4pc, “potentially pushing between 8.4 million and 9.1m more people into poverty”.

“Moreover, the depth and severity of poverty will increase for households that were already poor prior to the floods.”

Under BISP’s flood relief programme, the survey said around Rs69bn was disbursed among 2.76m beneficiaries during July-December FY23.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2023

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