24 Jun 2019 15:20pm
SWAKOPMUND, 24 JUN (NAMPA) There is an urgent need to strengthen and expand social protection systems in order to arrest poverty amongst the most vulnerable in Namibia.
This was according to Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Zephania Kameeta in a speech read on his behalf during a two-day regional consultation workshop for the Social Protection Policy, here on Monday.
Namibias social protection system is regarded as comprehensive compared to many systems in southern Africa. However, our systems are still largely fragmented and exclusive, with a lack of effective synergy of social protection policies and programmes, he said.
The aim of the Social Protection Policy is to reduce economic and social vulnerabilities to poverty and deprivation and tackle social exclusion and eradicate poverty.
The ministry through the Harambee Prosperity Plan was therefore tasked to investigate the feasibility of consolidating the social grants into a more effective coordinated safety net and to strengthen efforts in creating a comprehensive and integrated social protection system, he said.
Namibia has extensive social protection programmes that help to reduce poverty, which include social assistance such as the non-contributory old-age pension as well as other grants, Kameeta noted.
He said the draft Social Protection Policy adopts a broad view of social protection - composed of social assistance, social insurance, social welfare services and labour market policies - as well as a broad range of public and private instruments that aim to enable Namibians to manage risks, cope with vulnerabilities, eradicate poverty and reduce inequality.
The policy also proposes a dual approach to social protection, in that it recognises certain social services such as that health cover should be universal, while realising that universal transfers should be available for all in a category irrespective of their incomes.
Erongo Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua at the same event emphasised that social programmes should not be for the elite.
Let us target where real poverty is and the most vulnerable and not the haves, he stressed.
Additionally, Mutjavikua said for poverty to be targeted effectively, resources must be spent, no matter how little there is, as there is no nation in the world with all the resources they need.