THE Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare is coordinating the formulation of the draft Social Protection Policy that aims to create a social protection system that will double government spending on vulnerable communities from a current N$5 billion to a total of N$10 billion.
This was revealed by the Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social welfare, Bishop Dr. Zephania Kameeta, who was speaking at the meeting on the draft social protection policy of Namibia.
Kameeta stated that Namibia has extensive Social Protection programmes that have an impact on reducing poverty as demonstrated in income and consumption surveys.
He, however, stated that nevertheless, existing Social Protection programmes are identified to have numerous challenges including fragmentation and inadequate coordination, which hampers effective implementation of Social Protection interventions.
In 2018, the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, supported by development partner UNICEF, conducted a desk review on the social protection system in Namibia.
Through a desk review and inputs received from various players in the social protection field, intensive consultations informed the drafting of the social protection policy, and thus, various implementation challenges on the existing social protection programmes, as well as risks areas were identified.
Kameeta stated that the newly drafted social protection policy is very ambitious as it strengthens existing social protection programs such as the child grants and maternity grants by making them universal and adequate.
He added that there are also new proposals to fill in existing gaps such as the Basic Income Grant that will cover the unemployed between the ages of 30-59 years of age.
In addition, Kameeta stated that government also wishes to introduce the universal maternity grant that is meant to cover the unemployed, self-employed and vulnerable women that are pregnant and lactating.
“The challenge that we are facing is that the new policy is bound to double the public spending on social welfare services from the current N$5 billion to N$10 billion at a time that our fiscus is under pressure due to unfavorable economic conditions. This brings the issues of affordability and sustainability into focus as we debate the policy,“ Kameeta said.
The minister said that it is anticipated that views of social protection experts are needed to analyze the draft policy and provide government with valid inputs to enable it to produce a very good quality document that will ensure the whole Namibian population enjoys access to comprehensive social safety nets.