Social protection not just about cash transfers but sustainable development —Tembatemba


The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has observed with concern that President Hakainde Hichilema’s Parliamentary address during the opening of the 13th National Assembly narrowed social protection down to social cash transfers.

CSPR Executive Director, Faides Tembatemba, said this would negatively affect other social protection programmes if they are not emphasized and also prioritised in policy statements.

Read more: Govt to roll out digital payments of the social cash transfer scheme

Tembatemba was reacting to the presidential speech delivered during the official opening of the 3rd Session of the 13th National Assembly on September 8, 2023

She said the President should have also spoken on the need to make the transfer amounts reflective of the cost of living.

“The President talked about the digitalization process of the social cash transfer which is commendable,” Tembatemba said.

She noted the need to also ensure that the digital divide between urban and rural communities does not disadvantage rural beneficiaries from benefiting from such progressive innovations in the administering of social cash transfers.

On Environmental Protection and Climate Change, Tembatemba applauded the government for Electronic-Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to streamline and increase efficiency in environmental licensing, evaluations and compliance.

She said the government’s forestry development fund operation was highly commended.

“However, so far there have only been strides towards forest and land degradation and no mention of climate action interventions at the policy level such as the enactment of the Climate Change Bill,” Tembatemba said.

She noted that while the president’s address mentioned improvements in electricity generation and petroleum imports, renewable energy programmes had been left to the private sector.

Tembatemba said this indicated that the government was not making serious steps to phase out fossil fuels to meet the Paris agreement’s GHG targets.

“In his remarks, the president addressed infrastructure expansion and how the government’s ingenious plan will save taxpayers money, but he didn’t mention climate-resilient infrastructure,” she said.

Tembatemba said other sub-Saharan countries were adopting climate-resilient infrastructure to meet Sustainable Development Goal 11 on Sustainable Cities, which required infrastructure development to prevent climate-related loss and damage.

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