World Bank funds roll-out of Tajikistan’s social safety net

By on 08/02/2018
The headquarters of the World Bank in Washington DC (Image courtesy: Shiny Things).

Tajikistan is set to launch a nationwide roll-out of its new social assistance programme for poor and vulnerable people after receiving US$1.8 million from the World Bank.

The extra finance for the Tajikistan Social Safety Net Strengthening Project has been provided by the bank’s International Development Association, which lends money to the world’s poorest countries at very low or zero interest rates and on long repayment terms.

Expansion

The cash will be used to expand the Tajik government’s Targeted Social Assistance (TSA) programme, which was set up in 2011 with World Bank support to improve the identification and registration of people in need of social assistance.

Under the programme, old and fragmented social assistance schemes have been consolidated into a single benefits package and an improved mechanism has been developed to target help at the poorest and most vulnerable people.

The programme, which was initially tested in two districts with support from the European Union, now operates in 40 districts covering 60 per cent of the country following an expansion drive led by the Tajik government.

A National Registry of Social Protection has also been set up to provide a single, centralised information system for administrators and a database of vulnerable households.

‘Major accomplishment’

Jan-Peter Olters, World Bank country manager for Tajikistan, said: “It will be a major accomplishment to see the Targeted Social Assistance program expanded across the entire country.

“These reforms will provide the Government with the necessary administrative foundation to improve the delivery of social protection and cushion, if and when needed, necessary reforms to be implemented in a fast-changing economy.”

The extra cash will also be used to help the project make further improvements in the administration of social assistance across the country, strengthen a new grievance redress mechanism for the TSA and conduct evaluations and surveys.

Oleksiy Sluchynskyy, team leader for the project at the World Bank, said: “We have worked closely with our counterparts in the government to build consensus around the reform and capacity at all levels, so that there is a strong foundation for the national roll-out of the program in 2018.

Government buildings in Dushanbe, Tajikistan (Image courtesy: Maris Teteris).

Next step

“The next step will be to gradually consolidate the administration of various other assistance and care services on the same information system, so that the Government has effective tools for managing all its public support programs in a transparent manner.”

In particular, the project will focus on using the National Registry of Social Protection for the electronic certification of people with disabilities and on investing in a network of regional coordination offices at the State Agency for Social Protection to strengthen its delivery systems.

The World Bank has provided Tajikistan with more than US$1.4 billion since 1992 to support its development efforts.

About Liz Heron

Liz Heron is a journalist based in London, who specialises in international news. She worked on daily newspapers for 16 years, reporting extensively on both general news and education. She was Education Editor of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and has contributed to a wide range of British media including The Independent, The Guardian and the BBC.

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