No data on poverty assessment for a decade

povertyISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday reviewed progress on developing a methodology to assess poverty rate and firm up data, which will help the government design its policies and interventions accordingly.

A comparative analysis of the Food Energy Intake (FEI) and Cost of Basic Needs (CBN) methods was presented before the meeting which was informed that no data had officially been released on poverty assessment for a decade.

Pakistan was using the FEI method, which is no longer in common use, while the CBN method is being used all over the world.

The meeting noted that an assessment of poverty would enable the government to determine proper development objectives, including re-distributive 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 and regional standards be expedited and completed by April 15, 2016.

It was decided that the nutritional standard being followed in Pakistan since 2000-01 would be maintained, for example 2,350 calories per person instead of the lower standard of 2,150 calories per person which was being adopted by many countries in region to determine the poverty line.

It was further decided that technical review meetings may be held with reputed academics and think tanks before finalising 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 SDGs.

The finance minister appreciated the efforts being undertaken for developing the new methodology and collecting credible data on determining the poverty line.

He emphasised 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.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal was also present in the meeting. -Dawn

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