VICTORIA FALLS — Zimbabwe has failed to get the desired results from its social protection programmes due to the fragmentation of activities, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA
Officially launching the National Social Protection Policy Framework in Victoria Falls yesterday, Mnangagwa said over the years, the government invested a lot in the social sector, but results have been poor.
“We have not managed to realise full return on investment due to fragmentation of social protection programmes,” he said.
“I am glad that we now have a draft National Social Protection Policy document that is looking at social protection in its broad sense, factoring in social assistance and social care, social insurance, labour market and livelihood support interventions.”
Mnangagwa said the policy calls for programmes that better position individuals and households to participate in the mainstream economy and partake in the benefits that accrued.
He said its key actions included the designing of programmes that afforded the disabled and the elderly with an opportunity to participate in the economy and realise sustainable livelihoods.
“While emphasis has been placed on transforming the informal sector into the formal, the fundamental issues of decent work have to some extent been peripheral. I am glad that the this policy framework recognises the need for exploring ways of strengthening employment based on social protection interventions particularly pensions, health insurance schemes and skills development among others,” Mnangagwa said.
He said the latest figures showed that 16% of all households were failing to meet their basic daily food requirements were “too high and unacceptable”.
Unicef country representative Reza Hossaini lamented the current scenario where social sectors were almost exclusively dependant on donor funding which he said was unsustainable and unhealthy for the country’s sovereign aspirations.
He also implored officials at the launch to make sure that the policy does not gather dust after being shelved like several others.
“There are many beautiful policies that are simply gathering dust on bookshelves. This policy must avoid the same fate. There are too many people whose lives depend on it, there are too many people we cannot afford to let down.”
Social Welfare minister Priscah Mupfumira said the country had since 2000 relied on Enhanced National Social Protection Strategy which was very limited in scope as it covered only one pillar of social protection.
“I am confident that this social protection policy framework will bring coherence to social protection activities, improve programme co-ordination, relevance and adequacy, and ultimately impact on the lives of vulnerable people,” she said.
Health minister David Parirenyatwa said the country had the capacity for putting up its own health insurance scheme.