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Sindh govt prepares poverty reduction strategy with EU support

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday said that Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) prepared with the technical assistance of European Union is aimed at focusing on targeted interventions for poverty reduction, focusing on building on existing government initiatives with experience and research-based conclusions.

The planning and development department, with the technical assistance of EU, has prepared a 215-page book in which different determinants of rural and urban poverty have been applied.

Urban poverty is characterised by lack of employment and shortage of income. Therefore, the programme focuses on interventions aimed at improving economic opportunities, targeting enterprise development as a means of enhancing employment opportunities and thus household income levels.

The interventions also envisages launching urban economic clusters and income enhancement programmes in the second phase.

Rural Sindh is characterised by many villages and small settlements dispersed across the province. The PRS interventions would focus on identifying villages within specified proximity to each other, and specify a growth/service hub within the cluster where economies of scale and services and facilities could be improved.

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The hub may include housing and village up-gradation by improving internal roads, drains, parks and mosques. There would be commercial facilities to support local agri-based business and services such as storage facilities, distribution centers, sale outlets, banks, refrigerated storage facilities, milk chilling plant and a veterinary clinic.

In the second phase, the programme would focus on creation of a rural hub which would have a catalytic effect on promoting economic activities and poverty reduction through four anticipated results.

This includes creating opportunities for raising household incomes; providing the potential for saving on avoidable household expenditures through improved access to services and facilities; reducing transaction costs, and  fiscal savings for the government through consolidation of services.

There are five pillars of implementation of PRS which includes programme design and preparation for rollout; institutional and legal framework; public financial management and accountability, monitoring and evaluation and capacity development and communications.

The chief minister during a meeting on the programmer directed Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem to circulate the PRS book among the cabinet members so that it could be discussed and approved in the next cabinet meeting for implementation.

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