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Tuesday 20 February 2018
Politics

$2M set aside for social plan

Social Development and Family Affairs Minister Cherrie-Ann Critchlow Cockburn

Cabinet has approved a national social mitigation plan, the first phase of which will be implemented next year. The sum of $2 million has been approved in the budget for this fiscal year says Minister of Social Development and Family Affairs Cherrie-Ann Critchlow Cockburn.

The ministry will also be implementing in 2018 a digitised integration management system that will see some units in the ministry becoming obsolete while others may be created.

iGovTT is already engaged to procure and manage implementation at a cost of $331,147. The sum of $10 million has been allocated for this project in the budget, Crichlow-Cockburn said. She made the announcements in the House of Representatives during her budget debate presentation on Monday in which she said, priority areas on the two programmes have been developed for immediate action.

This will include, she said, implementing a package of short term relief measures in the mitigation programme that will provide immediate assistance to those affected by the down turn including those recently retrenched. The mitigation programme, a social sector initiative, she said, is the result of wide ranging consultations. It will target those in vulnerable social economic positions, such as retrenched workers, the unemployed, lower income workers, youths, people with disabilities and poor individuals and families.

The plan, themed “Building resilience to secure our nation”, she said, seeks to equip persons affected by the downturn of the economy with the resources and tools to cope with the short term consequences and to overcome them in the long term. The main objectives of the mitigation programme is to strengthen social protection system, promote civil society, and enhance productivity and innovation. It is focused on human capital development, sustainability, empowerment and continuous improvement.

The introduction of the digitised integrated management system which will be implemented in 2018, Crichlow-Cockburn said, will reduce administrative costs, linking of clients to one system, reduce duplication, eliminate double dipping, and facilitate the monitoring, evaluation and auditing of programmes.

Like the mitigation programme, the integration management system will be implemented on a phased basis and will result in the restructuring exercise and rationalising of some units. Some units may become obsolete, she said, like the food card unit which has now been integrated into the social welfare unit, which has become larger.

There may be new units introduced, she said, like the social support and empowerment unit. She does not expect an increase in staff.

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