CHRISTMAS is a time for giving and it is very rare that free money would fall into your laps but with the social cash transfer (SCT) programme that is exactly what hundreds of vulnerable families across the country has experienced.
With all the difficulties that Covid-19 brought it is heartening that that the SCT has continued to be implemented and now even taking advantage of digital platforms.
Government says it is pleasing that there has been increased confidence by cooperating partners on the Social Cash Transfer programme following the introduction of the smart system of administering cash which has led to transparency and accountability.
Community Development Minister Kampamba Chewe says the reduction on the physical handling of the cash through the smart system is meant to reduce misappropriation of funds and promote accountability in the management of the mainly donor funded cash.
Mrs Chewe however noted that the new Smart System being used has resulted in challenges as some people were having problems with the use of phone password personal identification numbers (PIN) numbers to access the funds and in the end the money is sent back to Lusaka.
“Our people should just adjust and learn how to use the phones, I know the challenge has been with the pin numbers but that can be corrected, and once the pin is corrected, the money can be retrieved,” she explained.
Mrs Chewe was speaking in Kitwe recently when she paid a courtesy on Kitwe District Commissioner before launching the Covid-19 emergency SCT.
We are fast heading into the New Year and with it technological advances will continue to evolve, the Zambian Government has already ensured mobile phone network in all districts and with it the supply of electricity.
This is expected to further enhance productivity of citizens and so it is important that more citizens embrace technology so as not to fall behind.
The social cash transfer payments being implemented over a digital platform enhances security as well as resolving any concerns about diversion of this critical support.
Following the misapplication of SCT by named officials at the Ministry of Community Development, a number of donors pulled out thereby disadvantaging a number of vulnerable people, mostly in outlying areas of this country
And Mrs Chewe explained that Government realised that Kitwe had been hit hard by Covid-19 hence the decision to include it on the target areas for the Covid-19 funds.
And Mrs Chewe has explained that her Ministry is scaling up the old cash transfer to capture 700,000 beneficiaries from the current 632,000.
Apart from scaling up, the rations have been increased to K150 from K90, beneficiaries with disabilities will receive double the amount to be paid bi-monthly.
These money go a long way in bridging the gap that the most vulnerable in our community face.
Earlier Kitwe District Commissioner Chileshe Bweupe said there has been an increase in the number of vulnerable people in district.
Mr. Chileshe among these numbers the students and pupils who need sponsorship.
“There has been an increase in the number of vulnerable people in the district especially school going pupils, we appeal for your help,” Mr. Chileshe appealed.
Advising the Ministry to consider the plight of these vulnerable people, Mr. Bweupe also expressed happiness at the increased number of Social Cash Transfer beneficiaries in the district and the fact that they will be paid bi-monthly.
The Covid-19 Emergency Social Cash Transfer is a fund initiated by government to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the vulnerable people.
President Lungu has been very vocal on his agenda to not leave anyone behind and in the case of eliminating poverty – the SCT is aiming to help lift citizens out of abject poverty.
The adoption of the digital platforms is a step in the right direction and pushes further the Smart Zambia agenda.