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President Koroma launches Social Safety Net

May 6, 2015 By Victoria Saffa

President Ernest Bai Koroma Monday (4 May) launched the Social Protection Strategy and Social Safety Net (SSN) programme at the Tonkolili District Council hall in the north of the country.

The programme, which is funded by the World Bank, USAID and UNICEF, will be implemented by the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) in collaboration with the Social Protection Inter-Agency Forum (IAF) and National Social Protection Secretariat.

In his keynote address, President Koroma applauded the World Bank and UNICEF, among other development partners, for their relentless support to social protection systems in the country.

He stated that in the last few years the country had achieved remarkable economic growth and progress in the areas of health, education and food production, and that poverty had declined in the last decade, although there were still large numbers of poor people.

“My government is very much committed in removing these difficulties by expanding services and putting in place social protection measures for the poorest and marginalized people in the country,” he said.

The President further noted that his government was focused on reducing extreme poverty and committed to protecting over 150,000 poorest households from sinking into further economic difficulties, as well as preventing 413,000 moderately poor households from sliding into extreme poverty.

“I am therefore calling upon all those involved in the implementation of these programs to ensure that resources meant for the poor actually reach the poor,” he urged. “Resources for social protection are not meant for field workers who implement the programs. We will ensure accountability for these resources.”

Giving an overview of the Social Safety Net project, NaCSA Commissioner, Alie Badara Mansaray, maintained that the project was designed to help eradicate poverty by providing cash transfers to extremely poor households in the country.

He explained that the beneficiary households would receive cash transfer of Le65,000 each month, with the transfer received by household representatives.

According to Commissioner Mansaray, Bombali, Kono, Moyamba districts and the Western Rural Area have the highest proportion of extremely poor people.

“We are working with different agencies, including the Anti-Corruption Commission, in our implementation,” he said.

Also, World Bank Senior Director of Social Protection, Arup Banerji, noted that the launch of the Social Safety Net was intended to free the poor from poverty.

“The resources will be invested in the poor people, especially in the areas of education and health. It will help beneficiaries to invest in their children,” he said.

The Social Safety Net programme will target no fewer than 13,000 extremely poor households in Bombali, Kono, Moyamba districts and Western Area Rural.

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