PR No.97 Poverty Assessment Islamabad: March 11, 2016

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Friday chaired a meeting to review progress of work related to poverty assessment in the country. Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal also participated in the meeting.

The meeting was apprised that no data has officially been released on poverty assessment for a decade. The present government has earnestly undertaken measures on developing the methodology to assess poverty rate and firm up the data, which will help the government design its policies and interventions accordingly.

A comparative analysis of the FEI (food energy intake) and CBN (cost of basic needs) methods was presented before the meeting. It was informed that the FEI method has been in use in Pakistan but is no longer in common use, while the CBN method was now in common use all over the world.

The meeting noted that an assessment of poverty would enable the government to determine proper development objectives, including redistributive policies (safety net) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It was decided that the work on the adoption of an updated poverty line for 2013-14 and earlier years based on an improved methodology in accordance with international/regional standards be expedited and completed by 15th April 2016. It was decided that the nutritional standard being followed in Pakistan since 2000-2001, i.e.,2350 calories per person will be maintained, instead of the lower standard of 2150 calories per person which is being adopted by many countries in region to determine the poverty line.

It was further decided that that technical review meetings may be held with reputed academics and think tanks before finalizing the new methodology. These meetings should share the technical work on validating the trend on the old line and setting of the new line in the context of the government’s inclusive growth strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts being undertaken for developing the new methodology and collecting credible data on determining the poverty line. He emphasized increased functional coordination between federal and provincial bureaus as it would help increase efficiency, enhance capacity and coverage and ensure requisite data for monitoring SDGs.