Govt must support social services

By Staff Reporter

 GOVERNMENT must channel more funding to social services if it is to eradicate socio-economic inequalities according to the World Bank (WB).

 The WB in its Zimbabwe Public Expenditure review jointly produced with government of Zimbabwe recommends increased support to children, elderly and those with disabilities.

 It added that the Small Enterprises Development Corporation (SEDCO) should be adequately resourced to execute its mandate.

 “Small Enterprises Development Corporation (SEDCO). SEDCO, a statutory body, provides incubation services for start-up businesses, as well as training, mentoring, market linkages, and business extension services. Expenditure on this program fell from $2 million in 2010 to $1.5 million in 2011– but to only $150,000 in 2015”.

 The SEDCO program has suffered from defaults and late repayment by SMEs, which has eroded its financing capacity as a revolving fund.

 The report further noted that social care services represent a tiny share of social protection expenditure, having averaged $764,000 annually from 2010 to 2014.

 “The DSS provides social care services, including residential and non-residential care.

The DSS supervises residential homes for the elderly, persons with disabilities, and children. Specifically, the DSS supports 29 homes for the elderly, 62 institutions for persons with disabilities, and residential homes for over 1,100 children.

 “Development partners have provided a sizeable share of Zimbabwe’s expenditure on social safety net programs”.

 However, financing from development partners has trended downward, falling from 84 percent of overall expenditure in 2010 to 59 percent in 2015.

 “From 2010 to 2014, the share of government financing towards some social safety net programs, particularly the Small Holder Input Support Program, increased notably, yet declined in 2015.

 As suggested in Section 2, development partners have shifted their resources from social safety nets to humanitarian aid, including responding to the El Nino drought.

 A prudent, sustainable social protection system appropriately balances its programs with other government expenditure and initiatives, and integrates financing from development partners into the public sector budget. Individual programs should be financially and politically sustainable so that benefits reach target populations predictably. Such programs should also avoid “stop/start” cycles, which impair the efficient administration of social protection and achievement of program goals”.

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