Social Security Strategy getting a nudge

Dhaka,  Sun,  23 July 2017
Published : 20 May 2017, 00:24:10
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Social Security Strategy getting a nudge

Central Management Committee prepares for action
Mehdi Musharraf Bhuiyan


A move is underway to infuse necessary impetus into implementation of the National Social Security Strategy formulated in 2015 in aid to the down-and-outs.   

The central committee for managing the country's social-safety-net recipe is likely to sit next month after a gap of over a year to pave the way for its execution that involves a substantial budgetary allocation.     

The Central Management Committee, which is headed by the Cabinet Secretary, comprises at least 23 ministries and agencies and is responsible for the supervision, coordination as well as performance review of all social-security schemes coming under the new NSSS.

There has not been any meeting of the aforementioned CMC since May last year, which, according to some officials concerned, was creating backlogs in monitoring and coordination of social-security strategy in the country.

In this context, the General Economics Division of the Planning Commission recently sent a letter to the Cabinet Division, asking for arranging a CMC meeting shortly.

"Organizing the CMC meeting is crucial to tracking the progress of various schemes coming under the latest social security strategy," said Prof Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member of the General Economics Division of the Planning Commission.

General Economics Division, which was earlier responsible for preparing the National Social Security Strategy, is also entrusted with the task of overall coordination of the M&E framework and dissemination of the evaluation results.

Noting that the executing ministries and divisions have already come up with their own draft action plans for implementing the strategy, Professor Alam said the CMC can also appraise those action plans for final approval and implementation.

Based on the action plans collated from line ministries, Cabinet Division will later also develop a comprehensive implementation plan for NSSS.

Sources close to the Cabinet Division, however, informed that they had already received the Planning Commission letter and it was planning to hold the next central-management-committee meeting by the end of June.

Noting that these programmes are administered by as many as 23 line ministries and divisions, the Cabinet Division official emphasized cluster-level review before the action plans gets the CMC nod.

Earlier, during the formulation of the social-security strategy, the government grouped the line ministries into five thematic clusters, each with a lead coordinating ministry.

"Clusters are important framework for necessary coordination between the numerous line ministries. Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate the action plans at the cluster-level meetings before they are appraised at the CMC," said one Cabinet Division official who preferred not to be named.

"We need to hold the cluster-level review before the CMC meeting takes place."

Bangladesh's current Social Security System (SSS) is huge and complex, comprising a large number of programmes and managed by many ministries.

According to the Ministry of Finance, there are 145 programmes under the Social Security System currently financed through the budget.

The total amount spent on these programmes in FY14-15 is Tk 307.9 billion, which is equivalent to 2.02 percent of GDP.

In this context, the government, in 2012, took the initiative to prepare a National Social Security Strategy through the General Economics Division of the Planning Commission under the guidance of a Central Monitoring Committee (CMC) for the Social Safety Net Programmes.

The NSSS was finalized and approved in June 2015.

According to authorities, the Strategy broadens the scope of Social Security from a narrow safety-net concept to include employment policies and social insurance to address the emerging needs of a middle- income Bangladesh.

NSSS also aims to bring reforms in other activities related to the delivery of social-security schemes such as establishing a single registry-management information system, strengthening Government-to-Person (G2P) payment system, strengthening the process of selecting social-security recipients and establishing a result-based monitoring and evaluation system.

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