First quarter BISP disbursement target fails Govt

The federal government has missed its first quarter cash transfer target for the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), depriving some 372,000 families that would have come under the social security net.
Against the budgetary target of distributing Rs24.1 billion among five million families, the government could only disburse Rs20.7 billion among 4.63 million families from July to September, according to data compiled by the BISP Secretariat.
The target was missed amid the government’s inability to appoint a permanent secretary in the BISP Secretariat – one of the reasons behind depriving needy people of Rs1,500 per month stipend.
The federal government had slashed allocations for the BISP by one-tenth to Rs67.7 billion against the budgetary allocations of Rs75 billion for the fiscal year that ended on June 30. That had deprived as many as 506,944 families of the promised monthly cash assistance.
For the financial year 2014-15, the government has allocated Rs97.5 billion for the BISP and was supposed to disburse slightly over Rs24 billion in the first quarter. It is also supposed to increase the total beneficiaries to 5.3 million by June next year.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has imposed quarterly indicative ceilings on BISP disbursements aimed at ensuring that the government gives what it promises.
Of the Rs20.7 billion disbursed by the government in the first quarter, the maximum amount of Rs5.9 billion was disbursed through United Bank Limited. Habib Bank Limited disbursed Rs4.2 billion, Tameer Bank Rs4.4 billion, Bank Alfalah Rs3.8 billion, Pakistan Post Rs1.3 billion and Sindh Bank Rs166.5 million. The banks charge 3% service charges on the cash transactions.