ISLAMABAD –  Benazir Income Support Program’s (BISP) board has deferred the approval of Rs 115 billion BISP budget and referred the matter to the committees concerned for the recommendations.

The BISP’s board approved new payment model which will enable BISP to shift the payment in entire country to biometric payment by the end of 2017.

Minister of State and Chairperson BISP, MNA Marvi Memon chaired 27th meeting of BISP board at BISP Secretariat.
It was 6th BISP board meeting since she assumed office of the chairperson in February 2015.
The following board members participated in the meeting: Dr Zeba A Sathar, Yawar Irfan Khan, representatives of Finance Division, Economic Affairs Division, Foreign Office and Secretary BISP, Ms Yasmeen Masood.

Besides budget, the agenda items of the board meeting included: restructuring of audit committee of the BISP Board, restructuring of Programme Design Committee of the BISP Board, grant of ARA-2016 (10%), BISP budget for FY2016-17 and New Payment Model.

Official sources privy to the meeting told The Nation that budget approval was on the agenda but was deferred.
Under the BISP Act, budget approval is totally on the discretion of the BISP’s board and they also have the power to defer it.
The total amount of Rs115 billion was allocated in the federal budget and board has the authority to prioritise spending within the allocated amount, the official said.

BISP budget was presented in the meeting.
Board referred the matter to the Programme Design Committee and Finance Committee of the Board for further deliberations.
When asked why the budget was not presented to these committees prior the board meeting, the official said that there were date issues and therefore it was directly presented to the board.

Meanwhile, a press release issued here stated that after thorough deliberations, Board approved the concept and design of the new payment model.
Board also allowed BISP management to submit the design of the new payment model to Finance Division for concurrence and to hire new payment agencies on open competition basis subsequent to the approval from Finance Division.
In this connection, chairperson BISP said that the new payment model would target to eliminate middleman culture through personalized biometric payments with no impersonation and address the issue of loss of debit cards and ATM pin codes.
It would also enhance financial inclusion through provision of regular bank accounts and increased payment touch points in rural areas.

Board was also informed that BISP is shifting all payments carried out through mobile phones, Benazir Debit Cards and Pakistan Post to biometric verification system in three phases starting from September 2016 tranche.
Chairperson BISP highlighted that BISP is committed to implement the biometric payment mechanism countrywide by December 2017.

During the meeting, the Board approved the restructuring of Audit Committee and Programme Design Committee of BISP Board.
The grant of 10% ad-hoc relief allowance 2016 to BISP employees was also approved by the Board.

The Board members were also apprised of the progress made on National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) update since June 2016, development of Internal Audit Manual and Charter covering all aspects of operations of the organization and ensuring transparency, admission of 1.
3 million children in primary schools by June 2016 under Waseela-e Taleem and retention of 98% admitted children in schools under current attendance compliance.

During her welcome note, Chairperson BISP gave her guidelines on the agenda items and briefly shared various achievements of the organization with the Board members.
She informed the Board that BISP has successfully achieved Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) under World Bank, DFID and ADB projects which are development partners of BISP.
She added that overall performance rating of BISP as per recent ADB Annual Review Mission Report has been upgraded from A to A


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