Windhoek — The first ever Draft Policy on Social Protection that is expected to create a comprehensive social protection system, which is efficient and effective in addressing risks and vulnerabilities that people face at different stages of their lives, is ready for public input.
This was revealed in parliament on Wednesday by the Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Zephania Kameeta. Social protection refers to policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labour markets, diminishing people's exposure to risks and enhancing their capacity to manage economic and social risks, such as unemployment, exclusion, sickness, disability and old age.
Kameeta said the draft policy would be shared with the stakeholders for comment and validation, before it is submitted to Cabinet and eventually to parliament.
"The ministry continues to administer the social grants to our pensioners and people with disabilities," he said, adding that the amount pensioners and people with disabilities get now stands at N$1 250, which has more than doubled from the N$600 grant paid in 2015.
He said government's social cash transfers including grants administered by other ministries have been proven statistically to have a significant role in the reduction of extreme poverty.
Furthermore, he said the ministry has embarked on an extensive reform of the country's social protection systems including the development of a National Social Protection Policy.
Although Namibia has one of the best social protection systems in Africa, he feels the country's systems are fragmented and exclusive.
In this regard, he said, the ministry hosted a number of consultative experts' workshops and seminars, in order to make the social protection systems more effective and inclusive.
Furthermore, he said the ministry is providing food to the most needy and vulnerable people in urban and peri-urban areas through the distribution of dry food parcels, as part of its Food Bank Programme.
To date, he said, the ministry is distributing food to about 17 000 beneficiaries in the Khomas, Karas, Hardap, Kavango East and Kavango West regions.
By the end of this financial year, the ministry will also cover Ohangwena, Kunene and the Zambezi regions.
"In order to improve the efficiency of the food bank processes, the ministry in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme this month launched the SCOPE system," he said.
"SCOPE is a computer-based system that is used for the registration of beneficiaries, identification of beneficiaries when collecting food parcels, reporting and monitoring and evaluation," he explained.
Kameeta says as part of Namibia's commitment to the implementation of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger, the ministry is coordinating the country's Zero Hunger Strategy.
He said by coordinating the implementation of the Zero Hunger Strategy, the ministry ensures that sustainable food provision and food production systems are put in place and are effectively implemented.
"The implementing stakeholders for the Zero Hunger Strategic Roadmap have submitted their action plans and a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework has been developed," he said.
Additional to this, Kameeta said a food and nutrition security draft policy is available and ready for validation.
He says the policy will assist the implementation of holistic food and nutrition security and a holistic programme on infant and young child feeding within the existing food safety nets programme.
Kameeta says under the blueprint, the ministry is coordinating the implementation of the following strategic priority areas, with the relevant ministries and agencies, as essential poverty eradication interventions: access to basic services; education, training and skills development; employment creation; and gender equality and women empowerment. An implementation plan has been developed and all implementing ministries and agencies are expected to provide quarterly reports on the progress made.
He said the ministry has further developed comprehensive reporting tools for each Strategic Priority Area to be implemented by each of the ministries and agencies.