45233-001: Social Protection Development Project | Asian Development Bank

Pakistan: Social Protection Development Project

Sovereign (Public) Project | 45233-001 Status: Active

ADB is supporting the expansion of Pakistan’s cash transfer program, which provides financial assistance to vulnerable households. The project will help broaden the coverage of the Benazir Income Support Program to an additional 2.4 million eligible families. It will also expand and improve a pilot health insurance scheme and skills development program.

Project Details

Project Officer
Mian, Nasruminallah Central and West Asia Department Request for information
  • Pakistan
  • Loan
  • Public sector management
Project Name Social Protection Development Project
Project Number 45233-001
Country Pakistan
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan 3049-PAK: Social Protection Development Project
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 430.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Education / Technical and vocational education and training

Health / Health insurance and subsidized health programs

Public sector management / Social protection initiatives

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Gender equity
Description The project will support the Government of Pakistan's national social safety net program, the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). The project will enable the expansion of the cash transfer program (paid to the female head of targeted poor families) by registering an additional 2.4 million eligible families and financing the first few quarters of their cash transfers. In addition, it will support the strengthening and phased expansion of the pilot health insurance and skills development programs to increase income and good health for targeted families. The project will provide technical support and finance part of the scaling-up costs of both programs using a performance-based allocation. The substantial fiduciary risk of the project will be mitigated through the strengthening of BISP financial management systems and capacity.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The last official estimates of poverty incidence were released in Pakistan in 2005/2006, with the headcount index for poverty reported at 22.3%. Since 2007 the Government of Pakistan has faced difficult challenges, including external and domestic economic shocks, economic uncertainty, and security problems. Annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates post-2007 averaged about 3%, while inflation averaged 13.8%, resulting in lower living standards. A recent study, using district-based poverty profiles, estimated poverty incidence for all households in the country at 33%.

Starting in 2007, the government significantly increased its spending on social protection, established a new institutional framework, and approved the National Social Protection Strategy. In October 2008 the government launched the BISP as the national social safety net program. The immediate objective was to decrease the adverse impact of food, fuel, and financial crises on low-income families. The broader goal was to implement the government's redistributive policy by providing regular cash income support to the poor. The main BISP intervention is a cash transfer program providing PRs1,000 per month to the female head of the family. The government's social safety net spending increased from 0.3% of GDP in FY2004 to 0.9% in FY2011 after introducing the BISP.

The BISP uses a transparent and objective methodology to select beneficiaries. It identified 7.2 million eligible poor families (23% of the total population) on the basis of a nationwide poverty scorecard survey using a proxy-means test approach. Initial evaluation findings demonstrate that it is a credible targeting system, covering a substantial number of the poorest in Pakistan. However, 2.4 million eligible poor families are not yet receiving the cash transfer because the female head does not hold a CNIC, which is the key eligibility criterion. Pending families are the most difficult to reach and likely to be the most destitute.

The introduction of a national safety net program and the availability of the poverty scorecard database can potentially lead to more efficient use of resources and better targeting and coordination with the provincial social safety net programs. A well-managed targeting system will enable the replacement, over time, of other inefficient social safety net programs and untargeted subsidies that are still pervasive in Pakistan.

The BISP piloted several graduation initiatives for health insurance, skills development training, small business development loans, and primary education co-responsibility cash transfers. These programs aim to support human development and economic opportunities for beneficiaries, and reduce the likelihood of intergenerational transfer of poverty. The first two of these graduation initiatives are of special relevance for social protection:

(i) Almost 70% of total health expenditures are paid out-of-pocket by families, driving about 4% of the population into poverty every year. Unexpected severe health problems are the most prevalent shock for families. In addition to income loss from being unable to work, medical costs alone can push households into poverty. Health insurance for the poor that covers catastrophic risks and major costs such as births can provide significant financial relief and protection to the most vulnerable families, while improving access to health facilities.

(ii) More than 53% of the target population depends on casual labor as their major source of income it is insecure and risky. Beneficiary family members have extremely low literacy and numeracy, affecting confidence and social participation. Rural employment opportunities (both wage employment and self-employment) could be enhanced through skills training. This will improve poor families' income-generating capacity and boost their resilience to shocks.

In April 2012, the BISP launched a health insurance program, Waseela-e-Sehet (WES), on a pilot basis to provide protection against catastrophic health expenditure to registered beneficiary families in Faisalabad district in Punjab Province through the State Life Insurance Corporation. The insurance package covers full hospitalization for all age groups with an annual maximum benefit cap of PRs25,000 per family. It covers preexisting conditions as well as hospitalization for maternity and child health. So far, 37,575 families have been insured and provided access to WES registered private hospitals on a cashless and paperless basis. Of these expenditures, 40% were maternity related.

The Waseela-e-Rozgar (WER) was launched in July 2011 to provide center-based formal skills training to any selected family member of a beneficiary. In FY2013, 56,600 trainees graduated from training centers providing 4 6 month programs. The current WER is very costly; the average cost of PRs53,000 limits outreach of the program. Most courses are taught beyond the absorptive capacity of BISP potential nominees, who are largely illiterate or semiliterate. Training delivery and competency assessment and certification have fundamental problems. While the impact of current training provision on employability is likely very limited, the reputational risks of training delivery arrangements and the lack of effective monitoring are high.

Under the 18th Constitutional Amendment (30 June 2011), several subjects including health, education, and social welfare became a shared responsibility of the federal government and the provinces. The federal government continues to play a critical role in ensuring that long-term poverty reduction and social protection goals are met. A centrally operated safety net program is better placed to ensure equal chances for the poor to qualify for the cash transfer program, and to coordinate consistent program standards for provincial graduation programs. The provinces play a key role to develop and implement complementary graduation programs, especially highly customized graduation interventions.

Impact Reduced income poverty and nonincome poverty for poor families in Pakistan
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Increased resilience of female BISP beneficiaries and their families
Progress Toward Outcome The poverty scorecard survey was initiated in 2009 and rolled out in 2010; as such the update of the NSER was overdue. After completing the desk-based pilot on 4 districts, Phase 1 of the NSER survey was launched in January 2017 to collect data in 16 districts through door-to-door survey using a revised poverty scorecard based on the proxy means test. In addition, self-registration by eligible beneficiaries through a desk-approach was tested. The data collection for NSER update is expected to be completed by March 2019 and all the communication and social mobilization activities which includes issuance and verification of CNIC of new beneficiaries for registration, issuance of debit cards/biometric payment cards to new registered beneficiaries and locating new beneficiaries by Pakistan Post Office are expected to be completed by June 2019.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Cash transfer program coverage expanded

2. Graduation components (implementation between 2018 and 2020)

2.1 Business incubation sub-component

2.2 Inclusive business sub-component

2.3 Public works sub-component

2.4 Direct cash component

Financial management and control systems, and policy research improved

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

5.73 million beneficiaries are enrolled (CNIC of eligible female beneficiary registered); of which near 5.4 million are receiving the cash transfer payments.

By the end of Dec 2017, 845,648 beneficiaries have been enrolled under ADB loan out of those 5.4 million eligible beneficiaries receiving the cash transfers. The ADB beneficiaries are 16% of total eligible beneficiaries. The number of ADB eligible beneficiaries is decreasing as BISP has suspended enrollment of new beneficiaries who qualified on the basis of the 2009/2010 survey beginning 1 July 2016.

From Q3 2014 - Q2 2018 cash transfer payments to new beneficiaries have so far been paid from project resources. As of Sep 2018, approximately $301 million cash transfer has been made to ADB eligible beneficiaries under UCT. The payments have been released on a timely basis by BISP.

The BISP design committee endorsed BISP Graduation Program (BGP) on 17 November 2017. To implement BGP, BISP is in the process of engaging/hiring institutions.

Geographical Location Nation-wide, Badin District, Faisalabad, Gilgit District, Muzaffarabad, Nowshera, Quetta
Safeguard Categories
Environment C
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects The program involves no infrastructure development activity nor has any secondary impacts on the environment.
Involuntary Resettlement Since the project will not support any physical intervention, no land acquisition will be required.
Indigenous Peoples The BISP is an inclusive program that does not discriminate based on indigenous status. The program beneficiaries are selected based on the results of a poverty scorecard survey using proxy means testing. No questions are included on religion, language, or ethnicity, to ensure participation and inclusion of all poor irrespective of tribe, subtribe, or minority status.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design The main discussions during fact finding were with BISP as executing agency, and its contracted implementing partners. Other discussions were held with Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, provincial governments involved in education, health, labor and welfare, poor women as beneficiaries of the BISP, industry associations (on the vocational training part), rural support programs (on outreach to the poor) and other development partners.
During Project Implementation BISP has established a well-functioning grievance redressal mechanism at the sub-district (tehsil) level, which is used well by the poor. Civil society representatives, especially NGOs, will be involved in the community-based skills training component. Implementation also makes use of a strong community mobilization methodology.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services The inputs of 18 consulting firms and 9 individual consultants, for a total of 637 person months (97 international, 540 national) are required to assist in the design and implementation, and for the monitoring and evaluation of the project activities. Consulting firms will be engaged using the quality- and cost-based selection (QCBS) method with a standard quality-cost ratio of 80:20.

IT Equipment for PMU: estimated cumulative value of $25,000 with multiple contracts, under shopping procurement method

Office Administration: estimated cumulative value of $50,000 with multiple contracts, under shopping procurement method

Responsible ADB Officer Mian, Nasruminallah
Responsible ADB Department Central and West Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Pakistan Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Benazir Income Support Program
[email protected]
F- Block, Pak Secretariat
Concept Clearance 28 Feb 2013
Fact Finding 11 Jun 2013 to 24 Jun 2013
MRM 16 Jul 2013
Approval 22 Oct 2013
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 25 Sep 2018

Loan 3049-PAK

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
22 Oct 2013 25 Nov 2013 24 Jun 2014 30 Jun 2019 30 Jun 2020 -
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 578.30 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 430.00 22 Oct 2013 316.52 0.00 80%
Counterpart 148.30 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 22 Oct 2013 376.64 0.00 95%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating Satisfactory - - Satisfactory - Satisfactory

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

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Title Document Type Document Date
Amendments to the Project Agreement for Loan 3049-PAK: Social Protection Development Project Project/Program Agreements Feb 2018
Amendments to the Loan Agreement for Loan 3049-PAK: Social Protection Development Project Loan Agreement (Special Operations) Feb 2018
Social Protection Development Project: Audited Project Financial Statement (July 2016-June 2017) Audited Project Financial Statements Jan 2018
Social Protection Development Project: Audited Project Financial Statements (July 2015-June 2016) Audited Project Financial Statements Dec 2016
Social Protection Development Project: Procurement Plan Procurement Plans Oct 2016
Social Protection Development Project: Audited Project Financial Statements (July 2014-June 2015) Audited Project Financial Statements Dec 2015
Amendment to the Loan Agreement for 3049-PAK: Social Protection Development Project Loan Agreement (Special Operations) Sep 2014
Amendment to the Project Agreement for 3049-PAK: Social Protection Development Project Project/Program Agreements Sep 2014
Social Protection Development Project: Project Data Sheet (Urdu Translation) Translated PDS Apr 2014
Amendments to the Project Agreement for Loan 3049-PAK (2016): Social Protection Development Project Project/Program Agreements Dec 2013
Amendments to the Loan Agreement for Loan 3049-PAK (2016): Social Protection Development Project Loan Agreement (Special Operations) Dec 2013
Loan Agreement (Special Operations) for Social Protection Development Project Loan Agreement (Special Operations) Nov 2013
Project Agreement for Social Protection Development Project Project/Program Agreements Nov 2013
Social Protection Development Project Reports and Recommendations of the President Sep 2013
Social Protection Development Project Gender Action Plans Sep 2013
Social Protection Development Project Project/Program Administration Manual Sep 2013
Social Protection Development Project Initial Poverty and Social Analysis Mar 2013

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

None currently available.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

None currently available.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.


Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
Social Protection Development Project Firm - Consulting Closed 06 Sep 2018 08 Oct 2018

Contracts Awarded

Contract Title Approval Number Contract Date Contractor Contractor Address Executing Agency Contract Description Total Contract Amount (US$) Contract Amount Financed by ADB (US$)
BISP BENEFICIARIES CASH TRANSFER Q4 2017 Loan 3049 18 Dec 2017 BISP ISLAMABAD PAKISTAN Benazir Income Support Program OTHERS 13,291,139.00 13,220,859.00
BENEFICIARIES PAYMENT JULY - SEPTEMBER 2017 Loan 3049 29 Nov 2017 BISP ISLAMABAD PAKISTAN Benazir Income Support Program OTHERS 12,083,116.00 12,078,524.00
CASH GRANTS FOR ELIGIBLE FAMILIES Loan 3049 20 Sep 2017 BISP PAKISTAN PAKISTAN Benazir Income Support Program OTHERS 15,356,196.00 15,356,196.00
ADB BENEFICIARIES THROUGH PAKISTAN POST AND BDC Loan 3049 11 Aug 2017 VARIOUS VARIOUS SRI LANKA Ministry of Provincial Councils & Local Government OTHERS 22,185,403.00 22,185,403.00

Procurement Plan