KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) prepared with the technical assistance of the European Union (EU) is aimed at focusing on targeted interventions for poverty reduction, building on existing government initiatives together with experience and research-based conclusions.
He said this on Friday while presiding over a meeting on PRS. The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, Saeed Ghani, Ismail Rahu, Syed Sardar Shah, Shahela Raza, CM’s advisor Murtaza Wahab, Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem, Dr Qaider Bengali, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Finance Noor Alam, Secretary LG Khalid Hyder Shah, Secretary Women Development Baqaullah Unar, Secretary Planning Shireen Narijo and other officials.
The Planning & Development Department with the technical assistance of the EU has prepared a 215-page book in which different determinants of rural and urban poverty have been applied.
Urban poverty is characterised by lack of employment and shortage of income. Therefore, the focus of the programme is on interventions aimed at improving economic opportunities, targeting enterprise development as a means of enhancing employment opportunities and thus, household income levels. In the second phase, Urban Economic Clusters and Income Enhancement Programmes would be launched.
Sindh is characterised by many villages and small settlements dispersed across the province. The PRS interventions would focus on identification of villages within a specified proximity to each other and identify a growth/service hub within the cluster where economies of scale and improvement of services/facilities could be improved through consolidation. The growth/service hub might contain housing and village up-gradation by improving internal roads, drains, parks and masjid. There would be commercial facilities to support local agri-based business and services such as input/output storage facilities, distribution centres, sale outlets, banks, refrigerated storage facilities, milk chilling plant and vet clinic.
In the second phase, the programme intervention would focus on the creation of a rural hub (supply side development) which would have a catalytic effect on promoting economic activities (a demand-side development).
The rural hubs hold a catalytic value for poverty reduction through four anticipated results/mechanism, i.e., creating opportunities for raising household incomes, providing the potential for saving on avoidable household expenditures through improved access to services and facilities, reducing transaction costs, and fiscal savings for the government through consolidation of services.
There are five pillars of implementation of the PRS. They are programme design and preparation for rollout; institutional and legal; public financial management and accountability, monitoring and evaluation and capacity development and communications.
The chief minister directed P&D chairman Mohammad Waseem to circulate the PRS book among the cabinet members so that it could be discussed and approved in the next cabinet meeting for implementation.