By Scoop Reporter
THE Social Cash Transfer (SCT) programme has proven successful in reducing poverty and promoting inclusive growth, the Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) has said.
In its latest analysis report, PMRC says this is evident from the developments that the program has made such as improving food security, ownership of assets and livestock and in uplifting the standards of the beneficiaries’ household dwelling type and sanitation.
It says Zambia has made tremendous strides with regards to the rolling out of the SCT programme, which is a clear illustration of how political will and a favourable political space can sustain the scale -up process of the programme.
It however says the major challenges that the SCT programme is facing are high administration costs, delayed transfers and inclusion of ineligible beneficiaries.
It is of the view that these challenges can be curbed by migrating the SCT programme from the traditional cash transfers to an electronic platform, which has the potential to cut costs, reduce leakage, improve accessibility and provide better security compared to physically delivering cash to fixed pay points.
It has proposed that there is need for intensive data cleaning to curb the duplication of National Registration Cards and that there is need for continuous validation to reduce on ghost beneficiaries as well as households in which the beneficiaries are deceased.
“There is need for the digitization of the selection process in order to deal with unscrupulous individuals who would want to be on the scheme while employed like civil servants. (e.g. the case of e-Voucher programme).
“There is need for a memorandum of understanding to be signed with terms of reference outlining the role of the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Government should increase funding for the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZADP) to increase capacity of officers responsible for identification, verification and certification of eligible beneficiaries,” reads the report in part.
It says alternatively, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services is urged to ensure that synergies and partnerships are formed with Ministries that have presence in all districts to enable ZAPD to utilize their offices for the administration of SCT programme.
“PMRC urges Government to consider utilizing mobile phone technology which has various financial platforms such as mobile money. Mobile phone penetration has increased over the years and therefore presents an opportunity for the administration of the SCT programme that will cut on some of the administration costs as well as eliminate the duplication of beneficiaries.
“Controlling Officers should look into finding different streams of funding for administrative costs by applying for calls for proposals. There is need for a contingency budget which should supplement administrative costs. Controlling Officers must develop a rigorous follow-up system on funding, ensuring that funds are received on time,” reads the report.
It says reports on the impact of the Social Cash Transfer must be shared with senior government officials from the Treasury so that they are informed of the benefits of the scheme as well as the effects of delayed funding on improving the livelihoods of the beneficiaries which will encourage them to prioritize and disburse funding on time.