Islamabad: Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday approved additional funds of $200 million to the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), according to a press release issued by the Maila-based lending agency.

The funding was provided to help support the government of Pakistan’s flagship social protection program, BISP, which supports more than l5 million eligible families across the country through over $3.6 billion in total cash transfers disbursed so far.

The management of the development bank said that it will continue to support cash transfers as well as help BISP implement institutional strengthening measures.

“Social protection programs like the BISP are crucial to ensure that the poorest segments of the population do not go further into poverty,” said the ADB Director of Public Management Tariq Niazi.

He added that the ADB was committed to helping the Pakistani government “implement alternative modalities for social protection and poverty reduction

The ADB official noted that these initiatives included an asset transfer program that promotes improved human capital and reduces inter-generational poverty.

According to the press release, ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang also weighed in on the loan, saying that the additional financing would support further institutional strengthening

“A policy research unit will also be established within BISP to help monitor and improve the performance of ongoing programs and design new cost-effective and evidence-based initiatives.”

“These include programs such as poverty graduation programs and conditional cash transfers for health and nutrition in line with global best practices,” he added.