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South Punjab poverty alleviation plan extended

LAHORE: The Punjab government and its development partner, the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), have signed an agreement to extend the gestation period of the Southern Punjab Poverty Alleviation Project (SPPAP) for three years up to March 31, 2021.

The planning and development department board hosted the ceremony at its office with board Chairman Habibur Rehman Gillani in the chair. Planning and Development Punjab SPPAP Project DirectorMuhammad Saghir and NRSP Chief Executive Officer Rashid Bajwa signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard.

The Punjab government had launched SPPAP at Rs4.7 billion with the financial assistance of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in 2011-12 in four districts of south Punjab — Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur. The objective was to increase incomes of 80,000 poor households by enhancing the employment potential of the people and increasing agriculture productivity and production.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gillani claimed that the project had achieved all targets effectively till its deadline of March 2018. The IFAD provided additional financing of $25 million for extending the gestation period for another three years and take the programme to Rahim Yar Khan and Dera Ghazi Khan districts. Layyah, Bhakkar, Mianwali and Khushab were selected for soft interventions.

He said the outreach of the project would be focusing more on women and youth. In order to include the additional financing, he said, a revised PC-I at Rs7.5bn had been approved from the Executive Committee of National Economic Council for actual implementation of interventions in the respective districts.

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