Current Date:

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Social Protection Policies and Institutional Arrangements in Sudan (4)

Development Planning Framework 
National Population Council (NPC)
(Abdulgadir Turkawi )The NPC19 was established in 1994 and is composed of a number of members including the minister of the MoWSS and other related federal and state ministers and partners. It is chaired by the president of the Republic. It is intended that the NPC lays the foundation for institutional structure to coordinate the government and civil society efforts regarding population issues through development, monitoring, evaluation and adjustment of policies, plans and population programmes.
Hence, the NPC’s main mission is to ensure the realization of population strategy and relevant goals stated in the Comprehensive National Strategy through policies, programmes and action plans that employ both quantitative and qualitative goals

The NPC is specifically tasked with the following:

* Formulating and achieving the national population policy and associated objectives and goals through projects and programmes and plans of action.
* Monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the National Population Policy.
* Raising the level of awareness on population issues among all population sectors through appropriate information media and education curricula.
* Encouraging support and disseminating scientific research in population issues, in coordination with national research centres.
* Soliciting local and foreign aid to assist in the implementation of population policies, programmes and plans.

Related policy endeavors

The Federal Ministry of Health (MoH) is finalising a nutrition policy that encompasses both a National Nutrition Strategy and the creation of a High Level Nutrition Council. These steps are were aimed at enabling the government to embrace the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement in 2014.
In July 2013, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MoAI) launched the signing of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) compact, which supports existing national polices, such as the Agricultural Revival Programme (ARP) aimed at increasing smallholder farmers’ productivity.
In June 2013, the Council of Ministers adopted a national school feeding policy to be adopted in collaboration with the WFP and the Ministry of Education (MoE).

Fuel subsidies

Sudan has been subsidising fuel and gas for many decades. These subsidies were forcing Sudan’s economy to the brink. The costs of these subsidies were met from the large oil revenues before the secession of South Sudan in 2011. In addition, the government devaluated the currency from SDG2.2 to SDG4.4 for one dollar in June 2012 and that exacerbated and increased the suffering in meeting the minimal requirements for the lives of the poor.
One of the key measures adopted in September 2013 was the abolition of fuel subsidies, which was aimed at reducing the fiscal imbalance and boosting the economy. This action resulted in increases in the prices of diesel, gasoline and cooking gas by 65, 68, and 67%, respectively, which then caused massive protests throughout the country in the same month. The abolition of fuel subsidies also increased the prices of goods and services that use fuel in their production and distribution. The loss in real income is estimated to be about 4% overall, but a large part of this burden fell on the poor. The IMF estimates that 1 million more people have been added to the current figure of 13.5 million poor people in Sudan (those with incomes of less than SDG114 per month). The percentage of people below the poverty line is therefore more than the official.
It is estimated that the subsidy reform will generate about SDG797 million (about US$140m) in budgetary savings (IMF). These savings should be utilised for expanding the social protection and SSN programmes and to formulate a new strategic framework and policies for social protection in the country. The interventions should include all the programmes and projects related to social protection. This should include the cash transfers, which are consuming most of the savings, and other social protection and safety net projects, such as those using cash-for work and intensive work methods.
In October 2013, the government doubled the social spending budget and the cash transfer programme was reinstated. Over 350,000 poor families are being targeted to receive SDG150 per month instead of the SDG100 per month for 100,000 households (89% were reached) since 2011. The salaries of civil servants were raised at the beginning of 2013, but not to the level that will coincide with the increases in prices that followed the abolition of the subsidy.

Government institutions

Many government entities have the responsibility of delivering specified social protection activities and formulating their own policies and strategies for their intended operations and outputs. The list below shows the major ministries responsible for delivering social protection and safety net programmes and activities:

Ministry of Welfare and Social Security (MoWSS)

In addition to the larger funds such as the Zakat, the MoWSS is also responsible for effecting the following policies: National Policy for the Welfare of the Elderly, National Policy for Social Service Education (training for social workers), National Policy for Supporting Orphans, National Policy for Resolving the Problems of Homelessness, National Policy for Street Children and the forthcoming Comprehensive Integrated Social Programme.
The MoWSS has eight directorates including Social Programmes, Women and Family, Poverty Reduction and Planning. It also has 10 semi-autonomous agencies including the Zakat Fund, National Council for Child Welfare, National Council for Persons with Disabilities, and the National Health Insurance Fund, National Population Council, and the microfinance programme under the National Rural Women’s Empowerment Programme.
The MoWSS has identified the following challenges that need to be addressed urgently in order to develop an effective safety net that is efficient, transparent and reliable for the poorest of the poor:
1. Targeting and beneficiary selection (errors of exclusion and inclusion).
2. Timeliness and alternative modalities of payments.
3. Lack of clarity in operational guidelines related to procedures and processes to guide implementing agencies involved in the Cash Transfer Programme.
4. Absence of linkages between the beneficiary databases of Zakat and NHIF (both provide services to the same households).
5. Limited field monitoring and absence of an external evaluation of the cash transfer or other Social Initiative Programmes (SIP) that could provide guidance on impacts of selected sub-programmes of the SIP to determine its impact on the poorest.
6. Weakness in M&E and avoiding the dependency of beneficiaries on the temporary support they receive.
7. The absence of a feedback mechanism for beneficiaries’ grievance redress systems.
8. Reliable information on the results of programmes, e.g. through impact evaluations.

Ministry of Finance and National Economy (MoFNE)

The MoFNE sets up the policy formulation of the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, which includes social safety nets and the commitment to a National Social Protection Policy under the human development pillar.
The ministry was overseeing the Multi-donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for social service projects, including the CDF (closed October 2013), and the AfDB’s projects. The ministry is in charge of the forthcoming Development Aid Strategy for non-humanitarian aid. The ministry is coordinating poverty sections in all related ministries, but has yet to establish coherent units with common objectives, databases and projects. The MoFNE is working with the World Bank to establish a new partnership with donors (Sudan Partnership Fund), which is expected soon.
The MoFNE is presently engaged in the preparation of the Five-Year Economic Reform Programme for 2015–19. The programme evaluates the macro-economic and sectorial performances in addition to the three-year programme (2012–14). Special attention is warranted to the areas of service sectors and poverty reduction. The programme aims at important objectives in the services sectors, poverty reduction and social protection.
It includes policies and interventions in education, health, water provisions and social protection. The programme has clearly identified challenges, policy objectives and specific interventions throughout its duration. It is expected that the programme will be endorsed prior to the preparation of the 2015 general and development budget.
The MoFNE is currently executing a project with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in West Darfur, known as the Sustainable Village Programme in Kulbus Locality (total cost US$15 million).