Building Effective and Sustainable Systems for Equitable Growth: Day 3
The three-day international conference on Social Protection: Building Effective and Sustainable Systems for Equitable Growth took place from 15th to 17th December 2014 in Arusha, Tanzania, organized by the Poverty Eradication Department of the Ministry of Finance of the Government of Tanzania, with support from UNICEF, ILO and the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI).
The conference was specifically aimed at supporting Tanzania’s ongoing efforts in scaling up its Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) Programme or TASAF III to reach all extreme poor by mid-2015. Furthermore, it was dedicated to informing the next steps of the social protection agenda in the country and the region at large, with the creation of the Arusha Declaration on Social Protection in Tanzania, presented by Dr. Servacius Likwelile (Permanent Secretary-Treasury, Ministry of Finance) at the closing of the Conference. The Declaration is based on feedback from the international experts present at the Conference for submission to the Tanzanian cabinet by the end of 2014. An inter-sectorial taskforce, set up at the Tanzanian Prime Minister’s office, are mandated to present the finalized document to the cabinet by the end of December 2014.
Usha Mishra (Chief of Social Policy, Unicef Tanzania) once again opened the day, making reference to the highlights of the previous day. She noted how day two saw the focus shift from policies to programmes. What was exposed was the importance of having complementary interventions as required by the context of each countries needs. What’s more, it was established that even small transfers have an impact as poor households have the innate capacity to make best use of their resources.
What emerged clearly was the role of coordination, both vertical and, importantly, horizontal, between social protection delivering agencies. Coordination avoids duplication, allowing complementary services to be delivered to targeted households that fall under the protective purview of all state sectors. She thanked the contribution of the participants for their willingness to learn and enthusiasm in their contributions to the Arusha Declaration on Social Protection in Tanzania.
Session 5: Sub-Session 1
Session 5 was dedicated to Social Protection Sustainability and Financing. The objective of the session was to expose key lessons learned in global/regional approaches to addressing sustainability and financing issues. Sub-Session 1 concerned Sustainability, chaired by Eric Shitindi (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Tanzania).
Vandras Luywa (Senior Social Welfare Officer, Social Welfare Department, Ministry of Community Development, Zambia) gave the opening presentation on Experiences and Challenges of Scaling Up Social Cash Transfers in Zambia. He noted the importance of predictable, consistent transfers. Luywa then introduced the typical Zambian household and then challenges they face, with 15-20% being labour constrained, 42% living in extreme poverty and 61% living in poverty.
Zambia has seen a quantum leap in social protection funding in recent years having a positive impact on nutrition, health, education and livelihoods. The objectives of this scale up have included increasing geographical coverage, increasing the number of beneficiaries and implementing a harmonized social cash transfer system. The system targets the labour constrained in the districts with the highest poverty rates. Strategic changes were made involving rerouting donor funding towards capacity building, so that transfers are made from the state. Additional staff were recruited, weekly working group meetings on the scale up were instituted and a Proxy Means Test was introduced.
Poor terrain, poor cell phone and internet connectivity, and slow progress in districts served as major challenges to the scale up. He noted the resilience of players being key in overcoming challenges, especially in reaching isolated places. Volunteers are committed to finding entitled beneficiaries wherever they were. Thus the main results included expanding coverage from 19 to 50 districts, operationalising the MIS database as well as raising awareness of the programme. They are currently hoping to upscale village banking and design linkages to health schemes. Luywa concluded noting how flexibility, adaptation, quick learning and decision making, outsourcing and paying attention to feedback from the field are required in the upscaling process.
Insight into the Challenges and solutions for setting up of comprehensive M&E systems for social safety nets was then presented by Valentina Barca (Oxford Policy Management). She stated how one should not “wait and see but see and act” to ensuring sustainable safety net programmes. On this count, setting up an integrated M&E system demands investigating the supply and demand side. She recognised how the current approach to M&E is quite theoretical, concerning checking boxes of what needs to be performed, as opposed to being focused on learning.
In light of this, Barca presented a conceptual framework involving the supply of quality information and demand for the use of information. The objective of the framework is to improve outcomes in programme design, implementation, planning, budgeting, accountability and provision of public information. M&E indicators need to be defined based on information needs which requires an assessment of the programmes objectives, theory of change, results, the needs of different stakeholders and actors, as well as the programme processes such as targeting to indicate what could go wrong.
Therefore in practice, some initially assumed criteria may not apply. More so, what often results is an overload of indicators and a costly M&E process. Therefore indicators need to be prioritised from what is originally defined. Then it needs to be determined what is feasible to observe. From there, the indicators need to be organised in terms of what is useful for who, for example institutions and various state actors.
She then went on to recognise that at initial scale up, monitoring is more important than evaluation. Furthermore, one should look to existing data sources and build upon them such as national household surveys, ad-hoc qualitative studies and externally contracted impact evaluations. Minimizing the burden of data collection and reporting is important and can be achieved by going hand in hand with other processes of implementation. In terms of institutional arrangements, M&E needs to reflect the overall institutional structure of the programme, using existing staff, systems and processes.
On the demand side, encouraging use can be facilitated via an enabling national policy that is performance orientated. It is also easier in a context that fosters linkages between different ministries. A strong role can be played by donors by sustaining some of the startup costs of building an M&E system. Civil society can also pressure for social safety nets going to the right people, enhancing the role of M&E.
Autonomy of decision making is important, benchmarking performance as well as providing incentives for institutions to use the information to stimulate demand for M&E. At the micro level, individuals often resist monitoring to avoid accountability, therefore this can be overcome by understanding that a good M&E system allows success to be shown as well as demonstrating the usefulness to staff and shifting the focus from ‘controlling’ to ‘learning’. Reducing capacity constraints, especially at the local level, represents a major challenge in this regard.
Sub-Session 2 moved the focus to Financing Social Protection, Chaired by Rashid Suleiman (Minister of Health, Zanzibar, Tanzania). Rates of return of social protection was presented by Franziska Gassmann (Director, School of Governance, Maastricht University). She began by exploring the rational for the investment case for social protection. She said that we need to promote how it is cost effective, sustainable and value for money. Non-contributory social protection has proven to be a source of resilience during shocks while supporting growth, social inclusion and productivity in good times. It also fosters accumulation of productive assets and can stabilize aggregate demand at the macro-economic level.
Gassmann then granted insight into Cambodia’s National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS). She presented a study exploring the effects and rate of return of social protection investment in the short and long term in the country. Household consumption and secondary school attendance increases in the short term. It was found that if complementary policies are implemented alongside social protection initiatives, it optimizes the rate of return.
Nard Huijbregts (UNICEF/ILO/EPRI) followed with Creating and sustaining fiscal space for expanding social protection. He began by exploring domestic resource mobilization and the potential improvements that can be made in Tanzania. Resources can be mobilized by broadening the tax base and removing tax exemptions to VAT, mining, the Tanzanian investment centre and companies and individuals, which present a valuable source of revenue. Finally, formal tax evasion holds potential as does the institution of new taxes.
Non tax revenue can be sourced from new sources like airplane crossing into Tanzanian airspace, collection leakage and most importantly, natural resources such as the recently discovered natural gas sources. Overseas Development Aid also holds potential in light of its increasing commitment to social protection. Deficit financing can be justified and sustainable in light of high returns on investments and low interest rates.
Huijbregts acknowledged how a crucial question is of sustainability of social protection in the country, especially in light of the massive expansion of the Tanzanian population. However, the dependency ratio of children is decreasing while that of old people is increasing. Children are declining in number however in the future they will have to provide for the old; supporting the case for increased productivity and capital growth so the young have the capacity to support the old.
He then exposed how social protection expenditure is declining as percentage of GDP and per capita in Tanzania due to economic growth. The consequence of an increase in inequality on economic growth is substantial, by hindering human capital accumulation, therefore there is a demographic and economic dividend in investing in social protection.
Ali Noor Ismail (Principal Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services, Kenya) then presented Building a nationally owned and funded social protection system: the case of Kenya. Social protection involves three sector in Kenya; social assistance, social security and health insurance. Gaps in social assistance measures include limited scope, poor synergy, mismanagement and wastage. In terms of the social security sector, low coverage is a challenge while the health insurance sector largely caters to high and middle income earners, thus plans are underway to institute universal healthcare. There has been an expansion of social protection funding in Kenya due to political will. Lessons learnt include the key role of government funding, good governance and long term strategies for the achievement of beneficiary graduation.
Development synergies and opportunities for co-financing of social protection: An HIV perspective followed by Michelle Remme (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK). She began by introducing the HIV investment framework. Social protection tackles the social drivers of HIV. However, with shrinking of HIV funding and pressure for sustainable financing, development intervention presents opportunities. She presented a study in Malawi that demonstrated how cash transfers alone, without specifically dedicated HIV interventions, can have substantial reductions in HIV risk (64%). She then explored various financing approaches, concluding that silo approaches may be underfinanced while co-financing provides opportunities to realise development synergies.
Session 6 was dedicated to the Adoption of the Arusha Declaration on Social Protection in Tanzania and Closing. The Session was chaired by the Honourable Saada Salum (Minister of Finance, Tanzania).
Dr. Servacius Likwelile (Permanent Secretary-Treasury, Ministry of Finance) presented the highlights and objectives of the National Social Protection Framework. He also recognised the challenges which include definitions and conceptual issues, fiscal space, delivery capacity and supply side constraints. Reforming the existing portfolio demands better targeting and coordination which demands the set up of an overall coordination body.
Likwelile then presented the Arusha Declaration on Social Protection in Tanzania, which was read aloud and signed. The Conference closed with participants singing the Tanzanian national anthem. Ultimately the Conference succeeded in adopting a policy consensus, embodied in the Declaration, for guiding its ongoing efforts in setting up a comprehensive social protection system for the poor and vulnerable, ensuring all citizens have access to basic health, education and income.
Author: Ashleigh Kate Slingsby
Short URL: http://pressroom.ipc-undp.org/?p=16794