It will finance education and health services in the country
The Asian Development Bank or ADB has approved a $603 million loan to Pakistan for strengthening and expanding its Ehsaas Social Protection programs.
Using conditional cash transfers, the loan will support the implementation of Ehsaas Program, Pakistan’s national social protection, and poverty reduction strategy.
Under the Integrated Social Protection Development Program, ADB will provide a regular loan of $600 million and a $3 million grant from the Asian Development Fund. It will also administer a $24 million grant from the Education Above All Foundation.
“The program marks a significant shift in ADB’s strategic engagement in the social protection space in Pakistan in line with Ehsaas priorities,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov.
He pointed out that ADB’s support will transition from unconditional cash transfers, that provide income support, to a mixed-modality approach that focuses more on conditional cash transfers for education, health services, and nutritional supplies. It will, consequently, help reduce intergenerational poverty through human capital development as well.
The program also supports improvements in implementation and fiduciary capacity for Pakistan’s social protection programs. This will build on previous ADB support to further improve grievance redress, risk management, financial management, procurement, monitoring and evaluation, and management information systems—functions that help to strengthen internal controls.
“ADB is a trusted and longstanding partner. This program is the result of years of engagement with ADB and other partners and focuses on areas where we believe the bank can have the most impact. It is a key priority under the government’s Ehsaas strategy,” said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar.
“This program incentivizes parents to send their children to schools, particularly girls, and will help to provide specialized nutritious food and conditional cash transfers to children and mothers in the districts of Pakistan that most need it,” she added.