Pakistan: World Bank ranks Ehsaas Emergency Cash program as one of the world’s leading social protection measures

The World Bank has ranked Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash program among the top four global social protection initiatives based on the number of people covered.
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Islamabad: The World Bank ranked Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash program among the top four global social protection initiatives based on the number of people covered.

The 650-page World Bank report focuses on global social protection responses following a pandemic and documents 3,333 social protection measures planned or implemented in 222 countries or territories.

With over 100 million people covered, Pakistan ranks fourth in the world in terms of the number of people covered. Ehsaas Emergency Cash in Pakistan is among the selected countries that have achieved impressive six-figure coverage levels.

The Pakistani federal government announced a relief program worth Rs 1.2 trillion in March 2020 “which has been almost fully implemented,” according to the report.

The package included an accelerated purchase of wheat (280 billion rupees), financial support for utility stores (50 billion rupees), a reduction in regulated fuel prices (estimated profit of 70 billion rupees for end consumers) , support for health and food supply (15 billion rupees) and relief from electricity bill payments (Rs110 billion), the report notes.

Low income households

Provincial governments also implemented supportive tax measures early on in the shock, including cash subsidies to low-income households, tax breaks, and additional health spending (including a wage increase for workers in the workplace. health), according to the report.

In its report, the World Bank commended the Pakistani government for Rs203 billion ((USD1.23b) Ehsaas Emergency Cash initiative to provide a one-time cash grant of Rs12,000 ($ 78) to 15 million families (nearly 109 million people). ) at extreme risk The program was designed to provide assistance to people struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. The payment system relied on the use of cell phones and biometric verification to strengthen the link between the government assistance and social protection.

Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated Dr Sania, who heads the Ehsaas cash assistance program, and the entire Ehsaas team for the successful implementation of the program and its global recognition. “Congratulations to Sania and the Ehsaas team for taking this important step and receiving well-deserved international recognition,” he wrote.

Senator Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Reduction and Social Protection, thanked the Prime Minister for “his vision, political leadership and full support for the tough decisions” taken to depoliticize protection operations social under Ehsaas. “Under your leadership, I will fight the corruption at the heart of my mandate,” she said on Twitter.

The Ehsaas social protection program includes more than 170 initiatives aimed at raising marginalized people, eradicating poverty and supporting vulnerable households.

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