By Lewis S. Teh
Liberia Gender and Social Protection Minister, Wilhelmina Saydee Tarr has reiterated the government’s commitment to lifting its citizens out of poverty.
Speaking Friday at the one-day dialogue with relevant stakeholders at the Ministerial Complex, Minister Tarr said the Coalition for Democratic Change-led regime under President George Weah will do everything in its power to lift the majority of the citizens from poverty and hardship.
Mrs. Tarr explained that it is incumbent upon the government as a responsibility, to leave its citizens out of extreme poverty, and strengthen protections for the vulnerable.
The one-day dialogue with relevant government institutions was intended to update and redesign the National Social Protection Strategy and Policy, which has expired since 2019.
The policy discussion which included nine government institutions and a host of local and international partners in the Social Protection sector was led by the Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection, as chair of the National Social Protection Steering Committee.
The Nine member committee includes; the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) Chair, Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), Ministry of Youth and Sports MYS), National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASCORP) and the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE).
Earlier, Mrs. Tarr lauded her colleagues for their interest in the policy discussion, specifically pointing out the importance for them to have come together to work in one accord for the good of the people and the country at large.
“As a Ministry, we have continued to make strides along with our partners, in delivering cash transfers to more than three thousand extremely poor beneficiaries in Maryland and Grand Kru Counties, with efforts to expand in Bomi and River Gee County soon. We have also successfully delivered cash to 15 thousand households in urban Montserrado County, as part of the Ministry’s COVID-19 intervention,” she explained.
Emphasizing the sole objective of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), Minister Tarr argued that the government remains committed to upholding pillar one- Pro-poor Agenda for Peace and Democracy or PAPD power to the people which defines specific national Social Protection interventions to reduce poverty and encourage citizens’ empowerment.
Giving his remarks, Youth and Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson emphasized coordination in the Social Protection sector, for result-oriented programs.
He said: “Under our recently concluded Youth Opportunity Project (YOP), we were able to help in transforming the lives of thousands of young people who were direct beneficiaries of the project.
We have now transitioned from YOP to REALISE, targeting close to 20 thousand vulnerable people under the new initiative, sponsor by the World Bank and other partners”.
Minister Wilson noted, “REALISE will not only cater for young people but a sizable number of the vulnerable population, which is our ultimate goal”.
For his part, the Deputy Director-General of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation Nyan Twayen said, “We need to bring all of the various Social Protection projects to a point where the government is able to better coordinate and track spending in the sector”.
In an effort to produce an updated and redesigned National Social Protection Policy and Strategy, the National Social Protection Coordinator and head of the Liberia Social Safety Nets Project (LSSN) Aurelius Butler stressed the importance of producing a policy and strategy that meet current national realities.
“It has been three years since our existing National Social Protection Policy and Strategy expired, which places us in a situation of not being free to jump into many things. As stated earlier by Minister Tarr, we are going to immediately hire a local consultant to begin the collection of fresh data to have our Social Protection Policy and Strategy updated with current realities”.
He also averred “an updated Social Protection Strategy and Policy will assist the Government in translating its commitment to providing for state interventions that will address vulnerability and reduce poverty”.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/poverty-reaches-68-percent-under-the-weah-government/