Islamabad, 26 May 2022 (TDI): Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Shazia Marri, delivered a keynote address during a webinar of delegates of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member countries on the “Pooling Efforts& Developing Collaborative Approaches Towards Poverty Reduction in the SCO Area.”

The Republic of Uzbekistan organized the webinar.

In her keynote presentation, Marri stated that the worldwide forum for eradicating poverty under the Shanghai Collaboration Organization (SCO) is a major endeavor to strengthen inter-state cooperation to share experiences for poverty eradication.

In her keynote address to delegates from SCO member countries, Marri stated that the Government of Pakistan, through the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, is spearheading one of the world’s largest social safety initiatives.

The Ministry’s Social Safety Initiative:

The Ministry’s Social Safety Initiative, lauded by agencies such as the UN, focuses on creating a welfare state by countering elite acquisition and utilizing the modern strategies, including the use of data and technology to produce precision safety nets; enhancing economic participation and availability of digital services; supporting women’s economic participation; focusing on capital formation; conquering financial challenges in accessing health and education; controlling malnutrition in all its forms, and employing multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder strategies to develop solutions at scale.

According to Shazia Marri, the Ministry operates through auxiliary organizations like the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM), and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF).

Benazir Income Support Program (BISP):

She stated that BISP’s long-term goal is to accomplish the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eliminate severe and chronic poverty and empower women.
Benazir Income Support Program has now changed into a premier social protection institution in Pakistan, regularly offering assistance to over 8 million lowest-income-earning families through its unwavering cash transfer (UCT) and multi-sectoral centered conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs, she said, citing continuous improvement in its design and software implementation.

The delegates were informed that the Benazir Undergraduate Scholarship program is the largest ever need and merit-based initiative for low-income students. Over the course of four years, the initiative would provide 200,000 scholarships valued at 24 billion PKR.

Pakistan Bait ul Mal (PBM) operates 51 orphanages, one Old Home for elderly residents, and around 160 Women Empowerment Centers to support the development of skills for women, orphans, and poor girls.

The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) is running a PKR 42.65 billion initiative that provides interest-free loans to 160 districts across the country in order to help people get out of poverty.
Welcoming the delegates from SCO member states:

Finally, Shazia Marri welcomed the delegates from SCO member countries to learn more about Pakistan’s efforts and achievements in combating poverty and share their experiences and best practices with us to further improve our programs for the social protection of our vulnerable communities.

Olga Batalina, first Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation, Ashurboy Solehzoda, first Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Republic of Tajikistan , Li Xin, Deputy Director-General of IPRCC in Сhina, Mirzohid Ubaydullaev, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Nurdoolot Bazarbaev, Deputy Minister of Labour, Social Security and Migration of the Kyrgyz Republic, Nataliya Belonosova, head of the Department of Labor Statistics and Living Standards of the Statistics Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Tatiana Brantsevich, Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Belarus and Pramod Anand, senior consultant of NITI Aayog of the Government of India, were the delegates that took part in the virtual meeting.

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