ZIMBABWE’S social protection interventions lack coordination and are generally under-financed as a result of the poor performance of the economy, a new report has shown.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
A report titled: Action Research on Social Protection in Post-Independence Zimbabwe 1980-2019 prepared by Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, European Union, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations, details how the county has failied to come up with a proper policy to address social protection programmes in Zimbabwe.
“Social protection interventions are generally under- and irregularly financed as a result of the poor performance of the economy. In the National Social Protection Policy Framework (NSPPF), the target was to consider as eligible for all forms of social assistance in the short to medium term all the 500 000 households which are deemed to be below the Food Poverty Line (FPL),” reads part of the report.
“On the basis of the budget (National Budget) allocated for social welfare in 2018, each household would get a meagre US$38,60 per year and US$70,55 in 2019. On the basis of the 415 900 vulnerable children to be reached with educational support as indicated in the Blue Book, the US$23 485 000 allocated to child welfare in 2018 works out at US$56,47 per child per year for 2018, while the US$31 592 000 allocated for child welfare yields a support level of US$75,96 per child per year.”
Challenges include a fragmented application of the instruments without a proper guiding structure; inadequacy and exclusionary nature of available services; and the lack of predictability, consistency, transparency and durability in most cases.
The report also found that social protection in Zimbabwe lacks a proper centralised coordination leading to incoherent and sector driven social protection under various ministries.
The report questions decision making processes in the ministries of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Health and Child Care, which often create bureaucratic, complex situations.
Other weaknesses include a lack of mutually supportive and clear policy objectives leading to disjointed approaches, lack of awareness by people of what services they can access, their rights and entitlements, weak monitoring and evaluation systems, and the existence of various pieces of Zimbabwean laws and policy statements that may not be mutually supportive of each other.
“In view of the weaknesses highlighted earlier, there is need for an overarching social protection policy that can provide a guiding framework for social protection in the country. The need for a coherent social policy framework has become more pronounced in recent years given the high levels of poverty in the country which are associated with rising unemployment, underemployment, rapid de-industrialisation and informalisation of the economy,” reads part of the report.
“This social protection policy should also mitigate the problems of fragmentation and duplication discussed above. In addition, it should be designed in such a manner that it enhances predictability, consistency, transparency and accountability.”