*NaCSA District Office, Portloko City, 16th September 2022* – The National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS), Sierra Leone Employers’ Federation and the Sierra Leone Labour Congress have ended ‘people-centric’ and comprehensive regional consultative workshop to develop the National Social Protection bill, 2022.
It could be recalled that the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) through NaCSA revised the national Social Protection Policy which defines the specific outcomes and prioritized interventions. The policy focuses on ten thematic areas including ‘access to education and health services, encouraging traditional family and community support for the vulnerable, promoting social insurance schemes and providing transfers to increase the use of social services, such as health services.’ Additionally, the Medium-term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019–2023 outlines a number of ambitious targets and policy actions to enhance social protection. The outlined actions include; strengthening foundational systems (e.g., establishing an integrated national ID card system), enhancing the shock responsiveness of the sector (e.g., establishing a social safety net fund for emergency response), expanding social security in the formal sector and expanding social assistance to cover 30% of the vulnerable population.
To enhance coordination of the social protection sector and operationalize the Social Protection Policy, GoSL, in June 2022, validated the Social Protection Strategy. The strategy will strengthen the strategic vision and direction of the social protection sector, outline the strategic priority areas for the next five years in order to meet the policy objectives laid out in the National Social Protection Policy and enhance effective social protection coordination amongst Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).
Currently, with support from the World Bank and UNICEF, NaCSA and MLSS have completed regional consultation on the draft social protection bill. When enacted, the bill *‘’will provide social protection for the poor, vulnerable and at-risk groups in Sierra Leone with the aim of reducing poverty, vulnerability and providing a life of dignity through protection, prevention, promotion and transformation of Sierra Leoneans’ lives.’’*
Speaking on behalf of the Commissioner of NaCSA in Kenema, the Deputy Commissioner of NaCSA - Sir Jimmy Batilo Songa reiterated government commitment to reduce poverty and achieve the goals outlined in the global agenda 2030. *‘’…today, the Government of Sierra Leone under the leadership of Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio is demonstrating commitment towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 1, 2, 4 and 5 (No Poverty, Zero Hunger, access to education and gender equality).’’* He ended.
On behalf of the World Bank, Md. Lydia Mesfin Asseres expressed her sincere apperception and best wishes to the people and government of Sierra Leone for expressing strong commitment to reinforce the country’s social protection system and expand its coverage. She stated that *‘’ … the World Bank looks forward to working with and supporting the Government’s efforts to firmly institutionalize the social protection system that aims to cushion the effects of poverty on poor and vulnerable and put them on a positive path.’’*
The Honorable Minister of Labour and Social Security – Alpha Timbo stated that Sierra Leone is a signatory to different international instruments that guarantee social protection for its citizens. The country has domesticated these instruments to uplift more Sierra Leoneans above poverty line and to promote equitable society. He noted that the Bio led government has demonstrated immense support to the sector through the finalization of a social protection policy and social protection strategy. *‘’today, we are witnessing a milestone in the expansion of social protection to the greater majority of Sierra Leone’s population. As we all know, social protection is a key element in the national strategy to promote human development, political stability and inclusive growth.’’* He concluded.
In his presentation on the National Social Protection policy and the rationale for a Social Protection Authority, the Director of the National social Protection Secretariate – Idris Turay elucidated that the goal of the policy is to establish a gender-sensitive and age-appropriate framework for protection of the poorest a minimum social protection floor for a life of dignity. At the end of the workshop, the draft bill was reviewed by participants and further proffer recommendations.
PC: Aminata Phidelia Allie
*For more information on this and other matters, *
*Please Contact NaCSA IEC unit*