Pakistan has made impressive progress in poverty alleviation: World Bank

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has made impressive progress in reducing absolute poverty and improving shared prosperity, according to World Bank (WB) report.
The percentage of the population below the national poverty rate has fallen from 34.7 percent in financial year 2002 to an estimated 13.6 percent in financial year 2011, according to Pakistan Country Programme Snapshot report published by the Bank.
The reports said, the country has already achieved the fist Millennium
Development Goal (MDG) by more than having the proportion of people whose income was less than $1.25 a day between 1991 and 2011.
Furthermore, growth in the real per capital consumption of the bottom
40 percent was a respectable 3.1 percent between 2002 and 2011, it added.
Poverty reduction has been strongest in the traditionally poorer provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, where poverty rates are now indistinguishable from those in Punjab.
However, the report said poverty remained much more prevalent in Balochistan, where a sizeable portion of residents were nomadic and were living in remote and conflict-affected areas.
According to the report, despite this progress, a large portion of the population remains vulnerable to falling back into poverty.
Although Pakistan’s recent gains in poverty were repaid, they remain fragile, in part because many households remain clustered near the poverty line.
An estimated 23 million people or 13 percent of the population, live on an amount between $1.25 and $1.50 per day, meaning that small reductions in consumption can greatly increase poverty rates.
However, according to report the poverty measurement remains controversial in Pakistan and urges for future efforts are needed to improve poverty monitoring and policy evaluation.
It said, poverty measurement can be institutionalised, in part through more independent and regularised poverty assessments, linking poverty measurements to other human development indicator data base and the establishment of a constructive partnership between official authorities, donors and academics to promote high-quality and timely measurement of poverty and shared prosperity, analysis and programme evaluation.
Additional data collected at the Moaza or Tehsil level can be used to generate more detailed estimates to help policymakers better locate poor pockets within districts.
Finally, there is a great need to generate more evidence on the effectiveness of different interventions in reducing poverty, it added.

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