The Minister of Gender and Development, Julia Duncan-Cassell has reaffirmed government’s commitment to addressing vulnerability and poverty in the country.
Minister Cassel spoke Thursday when she addressed participants at the closing exercise of the Liberia National Validation of the Social Protection Strategy for Liberia held at the Bella Casa Hotel in Monrovia.
The Gender and development boss said, recognizing that the government has a social contract with its citizens, the National Social Protection Strategy seeks to provide a unique mechanism to achieve this in addition to restoring human dignity, building social cohesion and bringing peoples in an inclusive way in the development process of Liberia.
Minister Duncan-Cassell pointed out that the validation process was critical in achieving the objective. She quoted Finance Minster Konneh as saying, “the strategy provides an historic opportunity in fulfilling government’s social responsibility.
“As shared with you in this document, the timeline there will be another consultation which will include the final vetting by national social protection steering committee before its submission to cabinet for endorsement,” Minister Duncan-Cassell noted.
For his part, the National Social Protection Coordinator, Gabriel Fernandez indicated, that government seeks to protect the vulnerability against livelihood, promote efficient livelihood market, address issue of food security and deprivation and increasing resilience to shock as well as ensuring equitable access to basic services and adequate employment.
Mr. Fernandez said, social assistance program, social insurance, labor market intervention, empowerment will be the hallmark of the social protection strategy.
According to him, the social protection program will tackle extreme poverty and vulnerability, support vulnerable groups, children, women, elderly and improve coordination to policy programs.
Mr. Fernandez said government will prioritize the optimization and creation of additional fiscal space; the integration of social protection financing in the national and developing a strategy to increase sectoral development.
Mr. Fernandez stressed that government will develop a strategy for increasing revenue to finance intervention under this social protection strategy, with the aim of reaching 3:5 of GDP.
Mr. Fernandez outlined some challenges in building a workable social protection as the consolidation of piecemeal program, political and acceptability of spending on poverty, and the redistribution of civil society organizations.
Meanwhile, the Superintendent of Rivercess County, Wellington Geevon Smith in an exclusive interview with reporters at program said, he was indeed happy for such venture by government as part of their constitutional responsibility to its people to come out with a social program that will impact their livelihood.
Superintendent Geevon Smith is however calling on national and international non-governmental organizations operating in the leeward counties to liaise with county authorities in implementing these projects, because according to him some NGOs are inconsistent in the implementation of their projects as a result, when the project fails, the blame rests on the county authorities.