Karachi (PR) Poverty alleviation has not attained the level of political priority in Pakistan given its importance and urgency stated by Sheikh Sultan Rehman, Vice President FPCCI during an interactive webinar on “Interactive Webinar on Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan: Challenges and Way Forward” organized by FPCCI Head Office Karachi. He further said that poverty alleviation is not an option, and all the segments of the society must realize their responsibility towards the alleviation of poverty from the country.

The meeting was attended by representatives from leading public and private organizations including Dr. M. Ali Kemal Economic Policy Adviser from Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Support Unit GoP, Dr. Shahid Hussain Javed Senior Economist from State Bank of Pakistan, Mr. Jawad Rehmani representative from National Rural Support Program, Ms. Maryam Anas Ganaie from Small Medium Enterprises Development Authority, Ms. Aisha Salma & Mr. Shehryar Shahid from Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Ms. Madiha Hasan, Provincial Focal Person from Benzair Income Support Program, Engr. M.A. Jabbar, Former VP FPCCI, Prof. Dr. Abdul Jabbar, renowned Economist, Ms. Nazli Abid Nisar, Former Vice President FPCCI, Commodore (R) Sadeed A. Malik Kashir, Dy. Convener FPCCI Standing Committee on Technical & Vocational Education & Training and Pir Muhammad Yaquib Chishti.

During the discussion, Mr. M Ali Kemal highlighted the different techniques for poverty data collection in Pakistan, at present around 24% of our population is living below the poverty line while 19% are the vulnerable. He further encouraged strong coordination between public and private sector for the economic development and poverty alleviation in the country. Sharing the details regarding the initiatives taken by SBP, Dr. Shahid Hussain Javed said that all the financing schemes of SBP aim to generate economic activities which are essential to provide income generation opportunities for the poor. Ms. Aisha Salma was of the opinion that government’s target to reduce poverty rate from 24% to 19% can be achieved by inclusive growth, participation of women in the economy and education. Appreciating FPCCI, Ms. Salma further said that private sector must play its social responsibility to the maximum. Ms. Madiha Hasan shared that BISP disbursed around PKR160 million during lockdown. She also said that apart from providing cash assistance, Ehsaas Ministry is also working on education, nutrition, awareness on population control in the rural and remote areas. Ms. Maryam Anas highlighted the significance of SMEs and said that promotion of micro, small and medium enterprises is an important tool for dignified employment generation for the poor and unskilled/less educated class of population. Mr. Jawad Rehmani said that NRSP is working at grass root level for the community development, education, health and the entire primary and secondary aspects of increasing poverty in rural areas.

Engr. M.A Jabbar said that the available data related to poverty measurement in the country in not accurate and expressed his concern over the increasing rate of vulnerable in the country. He further suggested the need of correct utilization and mobilization of resources to the lowest to get positive outcome from government’s poverty alleviation strategies. Prof. Dr. Jabbar criticized the performance of public sector organizations and ministries working for poverty alleviation in country and stressed the need of taking purchasing power parity (PPP) while measuring poverty strong public-private partnership and political will for the better of the poorest segment of the population. Mr. Sadeed Anver Kashir emphasized on the need of effective poverty alleviation policies particularly for the people depending upon the agriculture income sources. Pir Yaquib identified the significance of population control in the process of poverty alleviation in a country. Ms. Nazli Abid Nisar suggested financial support to the micro level workers without which it will be difficult for the government to contain and reduce the poverty in Pakistan.

While concluding, Sheikh Sultan Rehman said that the government cannot alone reduce the poverty in our country and hence it’s the social and religious responsibility of private sector, community and civil society and they must work together for the alleviation of poverty.

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