Pak to be Leading Recipient of UKAID Next Year

Thursday, June 2, 2011

KARACHI: Pakistan will be biggest development programme partner of UKAID next year, said Andrew Mitchells, UK Secretary of State for Department of International Development (DFID).

“The biggest development partnership programme that Britain will have next year in the world will be in Pakistan and it is designed to help children get into the schools,” he said after inaugurating a mobile banking franchise of private mobile telephone company here on Wednesday in cooperation with Tameer-e-Pakistan Microfinance Bank.

“In Karachi the chance to get into the school by a child is worse than any other city in the world and Britain is committed to work with Pakistan to ensure 4 million to get into schools, particularly in Karachi, in next 4 years,” he maintained.

The British Secretary said the DFID was also providing assistance here in health care and he visited a health care centre here and lady health workers found to be doing brilliant job of vaccination and other services to the women in Karachi.

He said Britain will be working with the government of Pakistan in education,, health, economy, democracy and governance.

Besides, he said the UK will get some 2 million more girls into school; prevent 3,600 women dying in childbirth, help 0.4 million couples choose how many children they should have; help around 0.9 million women access to financial services such as micro-loans and support legislation protecting women on land rights, marriage rights and domestic violence.

Earlier, talking about ’Easypasa’ branchless banking service here, Andrew Mitchell said in Pakistan more than half the adult population and two-thirds of women, do not have bank accounts or access to financial services.

“The UK supported the mobile banking with initial seed money of dollars 1 million and the use of innovative mobile phone technology is aimed to empower poor people to pay bills and transfer money to their families in rural areas and the UK will help further expand it to three million more people over the next few years,” he pointed out.

“It is fantastic way to help poor people to access to financial services and British tax-payers money has been involved to design development programmes in Pakistan,” he further maintained.

Speaking on the occasion, the CEO of Tameer Microfinance Bank, Nadeem Hussain, said that easypaisa, launched with the assistance of UKAID has registered Rs 10 billion worth of transactions per month which will be expanded to Rs 12 billion next year.

“Average per month transactions will grow by Rs 1.5 billion by end of the year,” he said.

To a question, he said that the mobile banking will also reduce the ’Hawala business’ to a great extent over the period of time as all the transactions are fully computerised.

Source: Business Recorder (link opens in a new window)