The way forward is said to have been outlined in Cabinet on Monday, by Minister Marcella Liburd who tabled strategy to her government colleagues indicating that it has come as a result of significant multi-stakeholder effort and involvement.
Liburd is reported to have guaranteed the Cabinet of Ministers that the NSPS would lead to improved management of all of government’s social safety-net programmes and would lead to enhanced servicing of the needs of those who depend on these programmes.
She further advised that some salient gaps in the social protection system had been identified by a social safety-net assessment report of 2009 financed by UNICEF, UN Women and the World Bank ,and that the NSPS directly addresses the identified short-comings.
Liburd’s presentation outlined that over the years, the 21 social safety-net programmes of the government, have been executed by mainly 3 different departments and ranged from food vouchers, compassionate grants and medical assistance, to school text books and home care for seniors, among other programmes.
The NSPS, in addition to the many social safety-net programmes, of necessity includes a social insurance strengthening component which addresses such matters as maternity, employment injury, unemployment, invalidity benefit and pensions According to the Minister.
The Minister identified some of the immediate considerations in the implementation of the new NSPS. She pointed to the need to reduce risk and vulnerability, and to avoid the cycle of poverty. This requires that beneficiaries of the government’s social safety-net programmes be held responsible for meeting specific self-improvement targets. Going forward, the government’s social assistance programmes should be better targeted, more results-based, more accountable, more transparent and better informed through the maintenance of a social intervention Management Information System.”
A Social Assistance Board is to be activated to oversee the implementation and monitoring of the new National Social Protection Strategy.