Muchinga Province Permanent Secretary (PS), Henry Mukungule, says government has identified social protection as a key strategy to reducing poverty and various vulnerabilities.
Mr Mukungule said in a speech ready for him by Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS) Mathews Chilekwa that social protection was also prioritised on government’s development agenda.
He said despite various social protection interventions that government line ministries and other stakeholders have been implementing over the years, poverty levels in the province and the country at large have remained high.
He said it is for this reason that government has prioritised social protection in a bid to alleviate poverty.
“The poverty situation in Muchinga and the country at large has in the recent past been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as natural disasters such as floods and droughts,” he said.
Mr Mukungule added that over the years, concerned partners have recognised and introduced the social protection joint annual review which is taking place in Muchinga today as a critical and useful mechanism for reviewing progress in the social protection sector.
The Muchinga Province Permanent Secretary said this during a social protection joint annual review meeting held in Chinsali today.
And Chief Planner under Monitoring and Evaluation in the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, Muma Mukupa, said the social protection joint annual review is equally a tool that is being used to identify issues which may need to be addressed in order to improve the social protection programme performance.
Mr Mukupa said the annual review further draws all social protection actors at national, provincial and district, including sub-district levels, in helping to establish if the programme being implemented is on track.
He said the 2022 social protection joint annual review is centred on seven key focus areas.
And speaking earlier when a multi-sectorial team from Lusaka paid a courtesy call on him this morning, Mr. Mukungule stated that the social cash transfer programme has made a tremendous and positive impact on many lives in the province.
Mr Mukungule said the empowerment programme has changed householders of the elderly and vulnerable people who are benefitting.
He said the farming inputs provided by the department of Community Development have also changed the livelihoods of people through what they produce.
Mr Mukungule has since appealed for an extension of the services under the ministry to others who are yearning to be beneficiaries.
“I wish to thank President Hakainde Hichilema and his government for ensuring that social cash transfer programme continued,” he said.