EU gives so­cial pro­tec­tion M26m boost

Lesotho Times - - News - Mimi Machakaire

THE gov­ern­ment and the Euro­pean Union (EU) have signed a EUR 1.6 mil­lion (M26 mil­lion) ad­di­tional fi­nanc­ing agree­ment to sup­port so­cial pro­tec­tion in Lesotho.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter, Moeketsi Ma­joro, and Euro­pean Union (EU) Am­bas­sador, Michael Doyle, inked the agree­ment which builds on an ear­lier fund­ing com­mit­ment which was signed be­tween Lesotho and the EU on 9 Septem­ber, 2015.

Speak­ing at the sign­ing cer­e­mony held in Maseru, Dr Ma­joro said the agree­ment would fa­cil­i­tate the ex­pan­sion of the so­cial pro­tec­tion pro­gramme to as­sist vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren in Lesotho.

He said vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren would be as­sisted through the pro­vi­sion of tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance, ca­pac­ity build­ing and poverty re­duc­tion.

“The spe­cific ob­jec­tive of the project is to es­tab­lish and im­ple­ment a com­pre­hen­sive so­cial pro­tec­tion sys­tem that en­sures the most vul­ner­a­ble el­e­ments of Lesotho’s pop­u­la­tion are pro­vided with a level of pro­tec­tion that is sus­tain­able and where the cit­i­zens are able to en­joy the ben­e­fits of so­cial pro­tec­tion with­out any dis­crim­i­na­tion, Dr Ma­joro said yes­ter­day.

He said this was in line with the Na­tional Strate­gic De­vel­op­ment Plan (NSDP) and the Eu-lesotho 11th Euro­pean De­vel­op­ment Fund (EDF) Na­tional In­dica­tive Pro­gramme (NIP) 2014-2020, as the ob­jec­tive is to im­ple­ment a com­pre­hen­sive and sus­tain­able so­cial pro­tec­tion sys­tem for all cit­i­zens.

Dr Ma­joro said the pro­gramme would en­hance the ca­pac­ity of the So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­istry to lead the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the so­cial pro­tec­tion sys­tem.

He fur­ther stated that it will help with en­hanced ca­pac­ity of lo­cal gov­ern­ment struc- tures to im­ple­ment so­cial pro­tec­tion strate­gies and pro­mote be­havioural change.

He also said gov­ern­ment, with sup­port of the EU, World Bank, United Na­tions Chil­dren’s Fund (UNICEF) and other part­ners had de­vel­oped a Na­tional In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem for So­cial As­sis­tance (NISSA) which is “a sin­gle na­tional reg­istry for so­cial as­sis­tance”.

For his part, Dr Doyle said the EU was pleased to in­crease its al­ready sub­stan­tial sup­port to Lesotho’s NISSA which he de­scribed as the pil­lar of the ef­fec­tive so­cial pro­tec­tion sys­tem.

He said NISSA is a key achieve­ment of EU so­cial pro­tec­tion, adding, Lesotho had an ef­fec­tive so­cial pro­tec­tion sys­tem.

“The agree­ment will pro­vide enough fund­ing for the ex­pan­sion to a new round of 60 000 ad­di­tional house­holds, bring­ing the to­tal to 230 000 fam­i­lies reg­is­tered un­der NISSA by the end of this year,” Dr Doyle said.

“The EU is pleased to fur­ther in­crease its al­ready sub­stan­tial sup­port to Lesotho’s NISSA, which is the pil­lar of the ef­fec­tive so­cial pro­tec­tion sys­tem which is now in place in Lesotho.

“NISSA can help elim­i­nate the pos­si­bil­i­ties for du­pli­ca­tion of grant dis­burse­ments, it en­sures the in­tegrity and se­cu­rity of grant re­cip­i­ent records and it en­ables economies of scale by pro­vid­ing a tar­get­ing sys­tem for use by other stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing civil so­ci­ety when car­ry­ing out so­cial pro­tec­tion in­ter­ven­tions.”

He said more than 170 000 house­holds of the es­ti­mated 350 000 house­holds in the coun­try are clas­si­fied by cat­e­gory of vul­ner­a­bil­ity un­der NISSA, cover­ing 46 com­mu­nity coun­cils in all 10 dis­tricts.

He also said the fund­ing would fa­cil­i­tate the ex­pan­sion of the cov­er­age to 10 ad­di­tional com­mu­nity coun­cils within the dis­tricts of Maseru, Berea, Leribe and Butha Buthe.

EU Am­bas­sador to Lesotho Michael Doyle (left) and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Moeketsi Ma­joro.

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