Benazir income Support Program net job gains from new approaches to reform program
Figure 1: Total Job Gains from Benazir Income Support Program (2010–2016)
Table 1: Benazir Income Support Program Changes Since 1998, Full Version (NEPO 2016)
The table shows that under the PPP (1994–2008), the net job gain from benazir income support programs was relatively small. With the exception of 2004,
the net jobs gained under the PPP program were far below the gains of other social protection programs. During this time, all other social programs gained more jobs than benazir income support programs (Figure 1).
Figure 2 shows the corresponding net job losses from benazir income support programs since 1998. This figure shows that all previous reforms of benazir income support programs were unable to reverse the losses. Even with reductions in eligibility levels, the net job losses continue with few exceptions.
The losses can be attributed to the difficulty in reaching the target of raising the income levels of the poorest households, the large share of unemployed youth, and income reductions from international food programs, particularly in low-income households.
Key Trends Under the NEPO (2017–2020)
The changes introduced in the NEPO (2017–2020) seek to create better support programs for poor people with enhanced services to support household income. For example, this program focuses on increasing employment to boost income.
One of the main objectives of the NEPO program is to provide young adults with income support and youth employment programs. There is an initial increase in the income level of young adults who work and have young children to support.
Other major changes include increasing the income support program to each unemployed adult (including an additional 35% for unemployed youth); maintaining the existing income levels of other benazir income support programs;
reducing the provision of child support to encourage women to go back to work; and improving the program to better support households that are vulnerable to income shocks, including low income, poor health, and income levels below the poverty line.
Namakwal, J (2016). Policy Options for Implementing Benazir Income Support Program. London: Jane’s Policy Insight. Accessed April 19, 2017. http://www.prg.com/projectinfo-brochure-file/168748–policy-options-for-implementing-benazir-income-support-program.html
Ayuwaiz, M, T Swailes, S Latha, and S Ranjana (2016). Accelerating Income Support for Low Income Households in Pakistan. Economic Policy Institute. Accessed April 19, 2017. https://www.epi.org/publication/accelerating-income-support-low-income-households-pk/
Contrasting Results for Restoring Income Support Programs (2004–2009)
The improvement in support for low income households over the past 10 years is mostly attributed to reauthorization of benazir income support programs (2002–2006).
During this period, some programs were improved, others were added, and a small number were reduced. Overall, the improvements are largely attributed to government support.
Figure 3 shows how the net job gains in benazir income support programs were relatively small when looking at both net changes in job growth from previous reforms, as well as the changes under the NEPO (2016–2020).
Figure 3: Net Changes in Job Gains from Benazir Income Support Program (2004–2009)
Following the NEPO (2016–2020), the net job gains from benazir income support programs increased in small segments. In addition, an increase in employment created a better safety net for the unemployed who cannot support their children (such as youths) on cash assistance.
However, there was little to no improvement in income support for households with a young adult who is unemployed (Figure 4).
Key Trends Under the NEPO (2017–2020)
The net job gains from benazir income support programs under the NEPO (2017–2020) will likely improve the employment rate in low income households.
Furthermore, there is the intention to add income support for unemployed youths with incomes below the poverty line (lower income household).
With the current job growth scenario in Pakistan, the demand for more income support programs is high.
Additional Goals for Income Support Programs
There are additional goals for income support programs as well, including job promotion and employment for eligible persons.
The aim is to create employment opportunities for unemployed youths who want to further their education. The program aims to support this particular segment of unemployed young people who do not find jobs or cannot earn a sufficient income.
According to the Benazir Income Support Program, “Benazir Income Support Program is designed to support vulnerable households living below the poverty line.” By supporting the unemployed, the program is also working towards meeting the goals of reducing poverty and improving social support programs.
A strong emphasis will be placed on working towards implementing the intended goals of the Benazir Income Support Program. In order to improve the delivery of the program, it is important to focus on a comprehensive response to income shocks and family challenges.
By empowering the beneficiaries, the program supports the entire family by increasing family income and reducing family hardship. This could potentially improve both income and employment outcomes for women.
Benefits of Income Support Programs for Women
According to a study in Pakistan, income support programs have a direct and positive impact on female labour participation and the employment rates of women.
The study also found that women are most vulnerable to income shocks and the program reduces income shocks in low income households that face multiple challenges.
In addition, a better income support program supports the overall health of the household, as well as a person’s ability to access food and health.
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