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Soothing effect of Pakistan’s poverty alleviation fund

During July-March, FY2020, the Government of Pakistan statistics showed that the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) managed to disburse an amount of Rs 2,469 million to its POs under its core interventions administered under various PPAF supported programs. Statistics also showed that during the same period, a total of 3,636 community institutions were formed, and 1,317 community and PO staff members were trained under Instittional Development and Social Mobilization component. Similarly, the Government of Pakistan officials also recorded that, under Livelihood Enhancement and Protection (LEP) component, 4,027 individuals received skills/entrepreneurial training and 10,615 productive assets were transferred to ultra, and vulnerable poor, 74 water and Infrastructure sub-projects were completed benefitting 41,240 persons.

PPAF Disbursement By Operating Units/Special Initiatives (Rs million)
Programs Components Amount Disbursed
Institutional Development/Social Mobilization (ID/SM) 75
Livelihood Enhancement and Protection (LEP) 2,043
Water and Infrastructure (W & I) 285
Education, Health and Nutrition (EHN) 66
Total 2,469

Under the health and education component, 9 educational facilities were supported during the reporting period, and 1,607 new students were enrolled, and 198,597 consultation visits by patients were treated under various ailments. 636,292 IFLs were disbursed through the IFL scheme. Overall, these projects and interventions benefitted around 893,695 poor and marginalized populations which also includes 50 percent women beneficiaries during the period. No doubt, PPAF is a flagship poverty reduction strategy of Pakistan. The funding offered to PPAF is dedicated to micro credit, enterprise development, community-based infrastructure and energy projects, livelihood enhancement and protection, social mobilization, and capacity building institutional assistance for the partner organizations of the PPAF.

 

Since its inception in April 2000 till March 2020, it is said that PPAF has disbursed an amount of about Rs 224.64 billion to its Partner Organizations (POs) in 144 districts in Pakistan. A total of 8.4 million microcredit loans have been disbursed, with 60 percent of the loans to women and 80 percent financing extended to the rural areas. On the other hand, the present government has introduced NPGI (National Poverty Graduation Initiative) under the flagship Poverty Alleviation Program ‘Ehsaas‘ organized through PPAF.

Major Achievements By Operating Units Of PPAF (Numbers)
Program Components Physical Progress
Institutional Development and Social Mobilization
_ Community Institutions Formed 3,636
_ Community and PO staff trainees (48% women) 1,317
Livelihoods Enhancement and Protection
_ Individuals received skills/entrepreneurial training (57% women) 4,027
_ Productive assets transferred to ultra and vulnerable poor (92% women) 10,615
Water and Infrastructure Sub-projects
_ Sub-project completed 74
_ Sub-projects beneficiaries (50% women) 41,240
Education
_ Educational facilities supported 9
_ New students enrolled in program schools (44% girls) 1,607
Health
_ Consultation visits by patients treated under program health facilities (46% women & girls) 198,597
Interest-Free Loans Scheme
_ Number of Interest-Free Loans (46% women) 636,292

The National Poverty Graduation Program (NPGP) program is a Government of Pakistan and IFAD funded initiative worth US$150 million (GoP US$50 million and IFAD US$100 million) to be implemented over a period of 6-year in 375 union councils of 23 districts in Pakistan in order to help the ultra-poor in graduating out of poverty on a sustainable basis. This program aims at transferring livelihood assets and training to 176,877 ultra-poor and vulnerable households. Furthermore, the program is at an initial stage of implementation. So far, the PPAF has inked contracts with 5 POs to implement the program in 338 union councils to transfer tangible assets to 147,489 households and intangible assets to 16,388 households in 20 districts of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces. However, the program has made substantial progress in these three provinces till March 2020 and has transferred 9,704 tangible assets to the identified households as per set criteria. The categories of these assets include livestock, enterprises, transportation and construction material. Moreover, the government officials also recorded that the Interest-Free Loan (IFL) Program is one of the main components of the initiative being implemented through the PPAF by its 24 POs. The range of interest-free loans is Rs 20,000 – Rs 75,000. As many as 3.8 million interest-free loans will be offered (80,000 loans a month) for the next 4 years to 2.28 million households. Against the target of 80,000 IFL per month, the PPAF has attained greater than 100 percent targets within the last 6 months.

In last I would like to mention here, slow growth, macroeconomic imbalances, escalating worldwide trade tensions, high level of income inequality, climate change, and growing fragility and conflict pose obstacles to poverty reduction program. Because of the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19, it is predicted that more people will decline below the poverty line in Pakistan.

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