The Cabinet Division and the EU organize a workshop on social protection systems in BD

TBS report

April 17, 2022, 8:35 p.m.

Last modification: April 17, 2022, 8:43 p.m.

Representative image. Photo: Collected

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Representative image. Photo: Collected

The Cabinet Division and the European Union (EU) Technical Assistance to Support Social Security in Bangladesh (TA SSSR) organized a workshop today (17 April) on “Cycle Based Social Protection Systems life in Bangladesh”.

Government officials from the Cabinet Division and other focal social welfare ministries attended the event, which was held at the InterContinental Dhaka hotel, according to a press release.

The European Union funded the workshop under its Social Protection Sector Budget Support Programme, which aims to assist the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) to accelerate social security reforms, in line with the spirit of the 2015 National Social Security Strategy (NSSS).

This budget support operation amounts to €247 million, in the form of direct tranches to the government, and €6.5 million for technical assistance, to help the Cabinet Division and other government departments to better deliver services and increase the number of citizens reached by social security plans and programs. .

Md Rahat Anwar, Additional Secretary, Coordination Wing, Cabinet Division, Md Shamsul Arefin, Secretary, Coordination and Reforms, Cabinet Division and Khandker Anwarul Islam, Cabinet Secretary, Cabinet Division attended the event respectively as special guests and main guest.

The technical session, led by Kavim V Bhatnagar, TA SSSR, examined the NSSS’ focus on consolidating social security programs within a life cycle framework.

“In a typical life cycle, from early pregnancy (i.e. birth) to old age, individuals face different risks and vulnerabilities at different stages. Thus, the need for policies to support individuals at each stage of their lives, and social protection strategies to mitigate risks at each stage.He also underscored the need for the GoB to address the most critical gaps in life cycle coverage, for early childhood and working-age populations,” Bhatnagar said.

In addition, the technical presentation explored the possibilities of providing social insurance (unemployment, accident, sickness and maternity) and contributory pension, as envisaged under the National Social Insurance Scheme (NSIS), integrated into the NSSS.

With the rapidly aging population of elderly people, the NSSS recognizes the need to develop a comprehensive pension system that provides a state-guaranteed minimum income to elderly people belonging to the poor and vulnerable group, while creating a pension system contributory scheme for working-age families who want to secure a higher retirement income in their old age.

Syed Saad Hussain Gilani, Principal Technical Adviser, ILO and Syed Moazzem Hussain, Principal Technical Adviser, GIZ presented their recent projects piloting a work injury program in the formal sector, showing how the NSIS spirit translates into reality.

Among the panellists, Dr. Md Khairuzzaman Mozumder, Additional Secretary, Finance Division, highlighted the gradual increase in the national social security budget over the past few years and the achievements in digitizing beneficiary data and in the number of recipients of cash transfers paid by G2P.

Mohammad Khaled Hasan, Joint Secretary, Cabinet Division, presented the Beveridge model, which inspired the life-cycle approach embedded in the National Social Security Strategy and laid out the way forward for important institutional reforms of protection social.

Hans Lambrecht, Head of Cooperation (Acting), European Union Delegation to Bangladesh, said: “One of the challenges for the delivery of pro-poor, inclusive social assistance and social insurance interventions responsive to shocks, is the absence of up-to-date and reliable beneficiaries. For this reason, the EU enthusiastically welcomes the new project planned by the MoLE to develop a Labor Information Management System (LIMS), with a module on a digital worker register. Data is a fundamental asset, which must be placed in the hands of the GoB to ensure that social security interventions reach the people in need as soon as possible. The EU stands ready to support the GoB to accelerate this essential reform.

Khandker Anwarul Islam, Cabinet Secretary, reminded the audience that social safety nets have played a vital role in containing the socio-economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and called on development partners to join the government and to consider innovative policy instruments to combine social security and capacity building, in order to provide the poor and vulnerable with the tools for sustainable development.

Joel C. Hicks