Heavy reliance on aid to fund social protection programmes unsustainable —Civil society group


The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has implored government to explore new sustainable strategies to finance social protection programmes.

CSPR Executive Director, Faides Tembatemba, noted that heavy reliance on aid to implement such programmes was unsustainable.

Tembatemba in a statement issued in Lusaka on Tuesday, stated that with the rising cost of living, vulnerable populations remained at risk once the intervention ends and if no sustainability measures were put in place.

She suggested that government should increase the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) value to a minimum of K336.73 based on the 2022 Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (LCMS) Poverty food line.

“This underscores the urgent need for SCT expansion in both rural and urban areas to support vulnerable households,” Tembatemba stated.

She, however, commended government for responding to the economic shocks by implementing temporary practical and strategic expansions of the SCT programme.

The CSPR Executive Director noted that the aim was to provide support to urban shock-affected and vulnerable households.

“While the traditional SCT programme primarily targets extremely poor and vulnerable rural populations, this intervention will provide a cash transfer of K200 per month to targeted households in 21 districts over a 6-month period,” Tembatemba said.

She stated that the response was timely considering that in the year 2023, January to December, the Zambian Kwacha faced significant pressure, depreciating by 30 percent against the US dollar .

Read More: Group proposes increase in social cash transfer for persons living with disability

Tembatemba noted that according to the Zambia Statistical Agency (ZAMSTATs) annual inflation for December 2023 rose to 13.1 percent, up from 12.9 percent recorded in the same year.

“This means that, on average prices of essential goods and services increased by 13.1 percent between this period and several factors contributed to this,” she said

Tembatemba added that this included a rise in fuel costs and low foriegn exchange earnings from the mining sector, which accounted for about 80 percent of Zambia’s foreign exchange earnings.

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