WASHINGTON, January 30, 2018 – Tajikistan’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens will have access to important social assistance benefits through better targeting and improved administration, thanks to additional financing of US$ 1.8 million, approved today by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors, for the ongoing Tajikistan Social Safety Net Strengthening Project.
The additional financing, provided by the International Development Association, will support the nation-wide expansion of the country’s Targeted Social Assistance (TSA) program, which aims to better identify and register poor and vulnerable people so that they can receive much-needed social assistance.
Since 2011, the Government of Tajikistan, with support from the World Bank, has been implementing important social assistance reforms that focus on consolidating old and fragmented social assistance schemes into a single benefit package, along with the development of an improved mechanism for more effective targeting.
“It will be a major accomplishment to see the Targeted Social Assistance program expanded across the entire country,” said Jan-Peter Olters, World Bank Country Manager for Tajikistan. “These reforms will provide the Government with the necessary administrative foundation to improve the delivery of social protection and cushion, if and when needed, necessary reforms to be implemented in a fast-changing economy.”
The additional financing will enable the Social Safety Net Strengthening Project to continue providing support in a range of areas, including to build national capacity in administering social assistance programs, strengthen the new TSA grievance redressal mechanism, conduct impact evaluation and beneficiary surveys as input to efficiency-increasing policy designs, and make further improvements to the TSA program.
The new targeting mechanism was initially tested in two districts, with support from the European Union, and subsequently expanded by the Government to forty districts, today covering almost 60% of the country. In addition, a National Registry of Social Protection was developed as a single centralized information system and a database to register vulnerable households.
“We have worked closely with our counterparts in the Government to build consensus around the reform and capacity at all levels, so that there is a strong foundation for the national roll-out of the program in 2018,” said Oleksiy Sluchynskyy, Team Leader of the Project at the World Bank. “The next step will be to gradually consolidate the administration of various other assistance and care services on the same information system, so that the Government has effective tools for managing all its public support programs in a transparent manner.”
Importantly, the Project will support ongoing efforts to ensure electronic certification of people with disabilities using the National Registry of Social Protection. And, it will help to build the administrative capacity of the State Agency for Social Protection, strengthening its delivery systems by investing in a network of regional coordination offices.
The World Bank’s financial assistance to Tajikistan has totaled over US$1.4 billion since 1992. The Bank remains committed to supporting Tajikistan as it strives to improve the lives of its people and meet the aspirations of its young and growing population.