KARACHI: Chairman of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), Senator Anwar Baig, has asked the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) to help BISP in placement of BISP-trained individuals at various industrial units in Karachi.
“We are focusing on economic empowerment of the poor segment of society by training them so that they could stand on their feet within three to four years”, he said, “We don’t want to create beggars under BISP program but our focus will be to look for adequate jobs for them according to their skills”.
Exchanging views with KCCI Office-bearers and Managing Committee members during his visit to the chamber, Chairman BISP said, “It will certainly be a win-win situation only if a BISP-trained persons get jobs. We need support of Karachi Chamber’s affiliated industrial units in making these skilled individuals financially independent.”
Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Idrees, Director General BISP Sindh, Zafarullah Khan Soomro, Divisional Director Karachi BISP, Ms Naveeda Warsi, Managing Committee members, Abid Nisar, Jamal Rasheed, Zahid Iqbal and others were also present at the meeting.
Senator Baig also requested KCCI to ink a formal Memorandum of Understanding with BISP which should focus on creating linkages between various industries in Karachi and BISP so that BISP’s skilled manpower could get employed in various industries.
Appreciating the vibrant role being played by Karachi city business community in the development of economy, he paid glowing tribute to the businessmen/ industrialists of Karachi and said they should be conferred gold medals for their valuable contribution to the economy despite extremely adverse and insecure circumstances.
Senator Baig said that Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif had taken keen interest in revamping BISP, which aimed to provide an adequate social safety net for poor and marginalized segments of Pakistani society.
He said that BISP was also planning to provide skilled labour to meet the demands of the Gulf labour market keeping in view the recent boom in the construction sector of various Gulf States which has created immense opportunities for the skilled workforce of Pakistan’s construction sector.
“We are revisiting the entire BISP and trying to revamp its different components so that leakages are plugged and beneficiaries are pulled out of poverty”, he added.
He recalled that the BISP was initiated in 2008 with an initial allocation of Rs0.34 billion, aimed at covering 3.5 million families.
He said that the BISP is designed to primarily provide beneficiary families cash assistance of Rs1,200 a month to help them meet household expenditures. Apart from this monthly stipend, the BISP has initiated tokenistic efforts to bring poor people out of poverty by providing them long-term interest-free loans, vocational and technical training, as well as health and life insurance coverage, he added.
Senator Baig noted that a total of about 7.2 million families had been identified for BISP assistance but only 5.1 million were currently benefiting the program. The remaining 2.1 million were still outside the program because they did not have national identity cards, he added.
He also informed that the government had allocated an amount of Rs75 billion for the program for the current year. Out of which, Rs68 billion would be provided by the government through budgetary allocations while the remaining Rs7 billion support is to be provided by international donors.
Speaking on the occasion, President KCCI, Abdullah Zaki highlighted chamber’s activities pertaining to resolving the grievances being faced by the business community due to worsening law and order situation of Karachi city along with poor infrastructure which was making it impossible for the businessmen and industrialists to continue their businesses, resulting in flight of capital from the country.
“We have been effectively raising voice to provide some relief to the depressed business community of Karachi city which is making all out efforts to ensure that the economy stays afloat despite extremely unfavourable circumstances”, he added.
He also appreciated the plans undertaken by BISP Chairman for revamping the program, particularly the idea of imparting training to the poor individuals so that they are able to get a job.
In response to Chairman BISP’s request for signing a formal MoU, Abdullah assured that the chamber would certainly look into the possibility of signing this MoU and encourage industrialists to support BISP in its cause of finding jobs for the trained manpower.