ANKARA: Turkey offered its support to Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in starting pilot project of conditional cash transfer for education for the children of its beneficiary families. The proposal came from Turkish Minister for Family and Social Policy Fatima Shaheen, during her meeting with Federal Minister and BISP Chairperson Farzana Raja on Tuesday.
Turkish minister promised to take up the issue in the Turkish Cabinet meeting and said that the Turkish assistance in this regard will be channelised through TIKA. Both sides emphasised on enhanced mutual cooperation in social sector projects and it was agreed that a technical team from Pakistan will visit Turkey to explore opportunities in technical cooperation in BISP programmes.
Turkish minister emphasised on decreasing infant mortality rate in Pakistan and also offered help. Farzana Raja expressed her gratitude for Turkish government and its people for feeling the pain of Pakistani people, especially during the natural disasters such as 2010 and 2011 floods and 2005 earthquake. Farzana Raja briefed the Turkish minister for family and social policy about the BISP’s nationwide poverty survey and transparency in BISP initiatives as well as the inherent qualities of BISP for women empowerment and poverty alleviation which has turned the programme into a comprehensive social safety net.
Earlier, the federal minister had a meeting with Vice President of Housing Development Administration (TOKI) Mehmet Murat. On the proposal of Farzana Raja, Murat showed willingness to consider allocating 4620 houses being built by TOKI for last years’ flood victims in Pakistan to BISP’s flood-affected beneficiaries.
Farzana Raja also suggested that TOKI may hire BISP-trained labour for their building projects in Pakistan and abroad. Mehmet Murat appreciated the proposal and suggested that with orders from Turkish prime minister, his organisation can assist BISP beneficiaries. Proposal for collaboration between TOKI Islamabad office and BISP also came under discussion while Farzana Raja invited the TOKI president to visit BISP office in Pakistan.
BISP chairperson also met President Social Security Institution of Turkey (SGK) Fatih Acar. She took great interest in the working of SGK, especially its health insurance programme under which 100 percent population is covered while president admired the nation-wide poverty survey conducted by BISP. Mutual collaboration was principally agreed, especially regarding health insurance and vocational training programme of BISP. pr.