By Asad Cheema
ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Thursday directed the Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Division (SP&PA D) to provide an update to the Finance Division about the transparency standards and expenditure already made under round-1 of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Assistance Program.
He expressed these views while chairing a meeting, here at the Finance Division, with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation (SP&PA) Dr. Sania Nishtar, for an update on the preparations of release of second tranche of Ehsaas Cash Assistance package in response to COVID-19. The Adviser appreciated the efforts of the division in looking after the poorest of the poor in the unexpected times.
He said that for the second tranche of the cash assistance program, Finance Division would provide all possible help after the SP&PA Division works out the exact requirement of funds for the Kafalat Program, Emergency Cash Assistance and for paying bank Service charges.
Earlier, SAPM briefed the Adviser that during the first phase of the program as response to the COVID-19 pandemic, an amount of Rs.175 billion was disbursed by BISP to 14.6 million beneficiaries @ 12000 as one time assistance during 2019-20.
Now under the instructions of the Prime Minister the second phase has to be started to provide additional cash relief to those who need it most urgently. The Special Assistant on SPPA briefed that there are 4.6 million regular beneficiaries of Kafalat program, and one time Emergency Cash Assistance was provided to 11.6 million beneficiaries during the pandemic to look after their cash needs.
The Special Assistant said that for the second tranche, a revised list of Emergency Cash Assistance beneficiaries will soon be prepared (as the number might be reduced due to control in the spread of the disease and opening on businesses and markets) and all the necessary details will soon be shared with the Finance Division.