We woke up this morning to another Daily Fail, anti Foreign Aid headline:
Where to start with this one? Okay, this is the actual scheme:
“Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) was launched in July 2008 with an immediate objective of consumption smoothening and cushioning the negative effects of slow economic growth, the food crisis and inflation on the poor, particularly women, through the provision of cash transfers of Rs. 1,000/month to eligible families. Its long term objectives include supporting the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eradicate extreme and chronic poverty, to empower of women and to achieve universal primary education. The monthly installment was enhanced to Rs. 1200/- per month w.e.f 1st July, 2013 by the present government and has now been fixed at Rs. 1500/-per month w.e.f 1st July, 2014.”
How very dare they?
This project was initiated for poverty alleviation and women empowerment among the socially and economically marginalized sections of Pakistan. Due to the international financial, fuel and food crisis, Pakistan witnessed escalating inflation over the past few years. In addition, Pakistan’s economic problems were exacerbated due to the global war on terror and consecutive natural disasters in 2010 and 2011. This has created a domino effect on Pakistani production sector and population’s ability to sustain. The number of people living below the poverty line is significant and more vulnerable households are at the risk of falling below the poverty line.
Women are specifically adversely affected by chronic poverty as six out of ten of the world’s poorest people are women who must, as the primary family caretakers and producers of food, shoulder the burden of tilling land, grinding grain, carrying water and cooking.
And what does this aid do?
- It identifies 7.7 million households who are living below poverty cut-off score of 16.17
- It creates a large and reliable national registry of the socio-economic status of around 27 million households across Pakistan
- It uses GPS to map the data of the entire country for informed decision making (for example, to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies)
- It validates the targeting process through third party evaluation
Women and children recieving aid.
- The cards give the poorest families in Pakistan; people who live on under £1 a day, £10 a month to enable them a very basic standard of living.
- UK backing for the Pakistan government’s BISP led to cash support for more than 235,000 families across the country in 2012, which could potentially increase to 441,000 families by 2020.
- DfID insisted that independent reports had praised the use of cash transfer schemes, there was a “zero-tolerance” approach to fraud and a shift to biometric payments would make the BISP more secure.
- The Department for International Development (DfID) said the programme was helping the poorest families in Pakistan and was an efficient and effective way to make sure they had the support they need.
Putting the fact that this scheme, which has been running for over 8 years, is helping the poorest and most vulnerable aside, these are the key points with regard to the UK contributions:
- The cards give the poorest families £10 a month, and the uk contribution to the scheme is around 5%
- Cash transfers worldwide equate to 2% of the UK’s overall foreign aid budget. They are used through existing schemes such as this one to reach people in need directly with lower overheads and less risk of fraud.
- The UN set a target figure of 0.7% of GDP for foreign aid. The UK increased its budget to stay in line with this. Sweden contributes double its GDP annually.
- Total UK spend over 8 years for the BISP scheme will be £300 million. – no idea where the Mail gets the £1 Billion figure from, seems to only relate to the increase in the Foreign Aid Budget.
But according to the Daily Mail, it is ALL British Taxpayers monies, it just funds scroungers, and Muslims at that, how very dare the scheme try and lift families from absolute poverty? How dare it save lives? And the Pakistani Govt is aware of the fraud allegations and trying methods to combat it.
Still, it was handy hate clickbait for the Mail whose 2017 mission seems to be to try and end all foreign aid. #NeverBuyTheMail