PESHAWAR: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar on Monday visited Bank Alfalah’s Shuba Chowk branch to oversee final preparations for the launch of new Kifalat cash-transfer programme.
The programme will enable cash disbursements under the Ehsaas Kifalat Programme and use a fully biometric payment system to provide safe, digital cash payments to millions of women across the country, giving them access to a bank account for the first time in their lives.
The women having no other source of income are the beneficiaries of the programme. They are being identified through door-to-door surveys to be completed in three phases across Pakistan.
The programme has an option that allows missed households to appeal their exclusion.
“The Ehsaas Kifalat programme is a major component of the government’s plans to build a welfare state which supports the poorest in society,” Dr Sania said during the visit.
“Under previous cash transfer programs, the women were forced to travel long distances to access retail shops, and too often were subject to abuse by greedy retail agents. Under the new system, the women will be able to go to biometric ATMs and branches, empowering them through financial inclusion and protecting them from corrupt financial mistreatment.”
During her visit, the PM’s special assistant observed as to how Bank Alfalah had planned to provide a welcoming environment for those people who had not previously used a bank, including their methods for guiding beneficiaries through the new system of finger-print security.
The new system would no longer rely on money orders or payment cards besides provide an option that didn’t previously exist for women to build up a savings account.
Beneficiaries would now have a choice of going to a biometric retail shop, a biometrically enabled ATM or any biometrically enabled branch of the relevant banks.
Bank Alfalah was one of two banks selected to distribute the payments across Khyber Pakhthunkhawa, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad and Jammu Kashmir following a transparent 10-month long open procurement process. The other is Habib Bank Limited.