Ministry of Gender leads discussion on national social protection policy and strategy – FrontPageAfrica

MONROVIA – The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is leading the process of updating and overhauling the National Social Protection Strategy and Policy, which has expired since 2019.

The political debate, which included nine government institutions and a host of local and international partners in the social protection sector, was chaired by the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, who chairs the National Steering Committee for Protection. social.

The nine-member committee includes the president of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP), the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of Agriculture ( MOA), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Ministry of Home Affairs (MIA), Ministry of Youth and Sports MYS), National Society for Social Security and Welfare (NASCORP) and the Liberian Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE).

Making an opening remarks during the meeting, Liberian Minister of Gender, Children and Welfare, Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, congratulated her colleagues for their interest in the political discussion, and specifically underlined that “it is on this government as a responsibility, to lift its citizens out of extreme poverty and to strengthen the protection of vulnerable people”.

She also noted, “As a ministry, we have continued to make progress with our partners, providing cash transfers to over three thousand extremely poor beneficiaries in Maryland and Grand Kru counties, with efforts to s’ expand soon to Bomi and River Gee County. . We have also successfully delivered cash to 15,000 households in the urban county of Montserrado, as part of the ministry’s COVID-19 response ”.

Focusing on the sole objective of the Pro-Poor’s Program for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), Minister Tarr also stressed that “the government remains determined to maintain the first pillar of the PAPD-Power to the people, which defines specific national social protection interventions to reduce poverty and encourage citizen empowerment ”.

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, through the Social Household Registry of Liberia, has completed the Management Information System (MIS), which will help to better coordinate the sector. “The GIS will contain vital data for social protection interventions across the country. We urge our partners to use the system, which hosts everything we need ”. added Minister Tarr.

Page 25 of the PAPD exercises under PILLAR ONE, The highest level of poverty is found among households headed by seniors (60+). Just over 60 percent live in absolute poverty, 48 percent in food poverty, while 22.2 percent live in extreme poverty. Since the majority of older people have never worked in the formal sector, it is unlikely that they will benefit from a pension scheme that offers some form of income security. Liberia does not have universal legal social security for its elderly. The only form of old age protection available is the national contributory pension scheme for the employed population. According to the current eligibility criteria, no more than 300,000 people would be eligible ”.

Also in separate remarks at the National Social Protection Steering Committee meeting this weekend, Youth and Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson emphasized coordination in the protection sector. social, for results-oriented programs. He said: “Through our recently concluded Youth Opportunity Project (YOP), we were able to help transform the lives of thousands of young people who were the direct beneficiaries of the project.

We have now moved from YOP to REALISE, targeting nearly 20,000 vulnerable people under the new initiative, sponsored by the World Bank and other partners ”.

Minister Wilson noted that “REALISE will not only look after young people, but also a significant number of the vulnerable population, which is our ultimate goal”.

For his part, the deputy director general of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, Nyan Twayen, said: “We need to bring all the various welfare projects to a point where the government is able to better coordinate and monitor spending in the sector ”.

On efforts to produce an updated and redesigned national social protection policy and strategy, National Social Protection Coordinator and Liberia Social Safety Nets (LSSN) Project Leader Aurelius Butler stressed the importance of producing a policy and strategy that responds to current national realities. “It’s been three years since our existing national social protection policy and strategy expired, which puts us in a situation where we are not free to embark on a lot of things. As previously stated by Minister Tarr, we will immediately hire a local consultant to start collecting new data so that our social protection policy and strategy is updated with current realities ”.

He also asserted that “an updated social protection strategy and policy will help the government translate its commitment to provide state interventions that will address vulnerability and reduce poverty.”

Currently, the financing of social protection is provided by our development partners, and it is therefore urgent to mobilize national budgetary resources for this sector. Therefore, I think this strategy will be essential in helping

we are achieving this goal.

Within the framework of the existing policy and strategy, five-year strategic priorities have been defined for implementation: Gradual extension of the “unconditional social cash transfer” providing minimum income security to at least 25% of households extremely poor.

• Extend school feeding as a national program with appropriate budgetary support and measures to improve the education and nutritional outcomes of low-income households.

• Continue to support fee exemptions for universal access to essential basic services, in particular for health and education.

• Assess the relevance and feasibility of alternative social protection instruments and targeting options that more effectively and more equitably target the poorest and most vulnerable groups. Effective and equitable targeting will include long-term benefits for children and the elderly and disability benefits from the social cash transfer as soon as capacities and systems allow.

Joel C. Hicks