Benazir Income Support Programme

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1.      Success of Cash Transfer Programs is heavily dependent upon an efficient payment mechanism.

1)      Initially, Benazir Income Support Programme was distributing its funds through Money Orders.

2)      A large number of complaints had been received by BISP against Pakistan Post officials. These mainly relate to non-payment, late payment, demand of bakhsheesh, delivery of Money Orders at the Post Office rather than door-steps etc.

3)      Pakistan Post has also not put in place a viable mechanism to address the complaints expeditiously.

4)      The data is also not being reconciled well in time which results in outstanding amounts with the Pakistan Post.


2.      In order to overcome these problems/ delays and introduce a more efficient and technologically advanced mechanism of delivering the BISP’s funds, BISP has devised a plan on a new payment mechanism. The mechanism will further strengthen the transparency and speedy delivery to beneficiaries. The mechanism will include the modern modes of branchless banking systems e.g Card to Phone, Card to Point of sale and Phone to Phone. In this context, an alternate payment mechanism (Card to Phone) has already been implemented in the four districts (Mianwali, Multan, Sanghar and Mirpurkhas), where the Poverty Scorecard Survey has already been completed. UBL, through a competitive bidding process, has been selected as the Payment Agency.

3.      Main features of the system are as follow;

1)      The payments process handled by UBL is electronic in its purest definition.

2)      Cards are sourced by and personalised by NADRA.

3)      Personalised cards are delivered to the appropriate NADRA issuing office.

4)      Beneficiaries are authenticated – finger print match to NADRA Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and cards are issued.

5)      Once cards are issued, NADRA informs BISP that beneficiaries have been issued with their cards. Cards are activated within 3 days.

6)      The card issuance information is sent by BISP to UBL for accounts opening process.

7)      Beneficiary presents themselves in person to collect cash at a UBL (OMNI) branch.

8)      The Card Smart card is scanned using a QR infra-red bar code scanner connected to a personal computer (PC) that is online through an Internet connection.

9)      The first time a user presents themselves to receive their first payment, the Cards PIN (printed on the PIN mailer with the card) must be changed as required by the payment system.

10)   The franchisee then establishes how much money is available.

11)  The franchisee then draws the full amount payable to the beneficiary.

12)  The beneficiary is paid in cash (normally either Rs 1000 or Rs 2000), required to sign a register of payment with their fingerprint and is then handed back their cards.

4.      After the successful pilot in the above mentioned districts, Requests for Proposal have also been called to implement the payment mechanism in the remaining 12 districts (Tharparkar, Pakpattan, Layyah, Poonch, Diamir, Gaanche, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Battagram, Killa Saifullah, Kech/Turbat and Musakhel) where the poverty survey was conducted during the pilot phase.


5.      BISP has decided to pilot another Alternate Payment System (Phone to Phone) which is also a mode of branchless banking system. Requests for Proposals have been called for twenty districts namely; Shaheed Benazirabad, Larkana, Badin, Karachi (Malir), Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur (AJK), Dera Ismail Khan, Mardan, Peshawar, Abbotabad, Naseerabad, Jaffarabad, Lasbela, Pishin, Gilgit and Skardu). The proposed methodology is outlined in the following; however, the final implementation framework will depend on the proposals submitted by the contesting payment agencies and the available options.

1)      BISP’s beneficiaries will be issued specially formatted mobile phone set/SIMs.

2)      Payments to the beneficiaries will be made by the payment agency’ franchise or agents.

3)      The system shall allow for payments to be made to BISP beneficiaries that have a mobile phone and most importantly those who do not have a mobile phone.

4)      BISP will create a payments schedule monthly that lists each beneficiary’s CNIC and the amount that is to be paid to the beneficiary by the MPSP‟s agents.

5)      BISP would transfer funds equal to the total of funds to be paid to beneficiaries plus any fees to the service provider.

6)      The system would hold a balance due to the beneficiary, such beneficiary being identified by their CNIC number (and not necessarily a mobile phone number)

7)      When the beneficiary presents themselves at the payment agency’s agent, the agent must identify the beneficiary against their CNIC card and/or BISP card that would include a photo of the beneficiary.

8)      Satisfied as to the identity of the beneficiary, the agent would make the applicable payment to the beneficiary (per the balance held in the payment system).

9)      The MPSP agent would be required to take a photo of the beneficiary being paid and MMS such with the beneficiary CNIC to a mobile network number designated by BISP from time to time


11.       BISP is also implementing an Emergency Relief Package for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of FATA, Swat (Malakand Division) and earthquake affectees of Baluchistan. Following progress has been made in this regard:

·         A total of Rs.28 million has been paid to 3965 families from FATA and Bajaur.

·         A total of Rs.34 million has been paid to 3729 earthquake affected families in Baluchistan.

·         An agreement with United Bank Limited (UBP) has been signed by BISP to pay benefits to 318,126 verified IDPs from Swat/Malakand to benefit. A total of 120,000 cards have been issued to the IDPs to date. Rs. 12000 will be disbursed to each IDP family from April, 2009 to March, 2010 at the rate of Rs.1000/- per month.

·         Data on the bomb blast victims have been obtained and benefits will be paid to the next of kin in case of a deceased person and the victim in case of injury.

·         A total of 720 victim families have been registered and Rs.1.4 million have been paid up till now.


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