The Government of Zanzibar, Tanzania requires a pension plan and has requested the help of the SOCIEUX programme, a social protection initiative of the European Union, to receive advising for development of a universal programme.
In 2014, the Government of Zanzibar approved the Social Protection Policy, the overall objective of which is to “establish a social protection plan that responds to the needs of all Zanzibari citizens for guaranteed income, risk management and access to basic services, which will contribute to creating a more just society“. The policy also indicates that “the Government will guarantee universal access to a contributory or non-contributory pension for all elderly persons in Zanzibar”. In response, the Government plans to introduce a universal social pension plan for old age, and it has requested the help of the SOCIEUX programme to do this.
The SOCIEUX programme, in which the FIIAPP participates, is collaborating on this occasion with Zanzibar’s Ministry of Empowerment, Social Welfare, Youth, Women and Children (MoESWYWC) in the implementation of a universal social pension programme for old age. From 11th to 22nd May, a first assessment mission was carried out which enabled the programme experts to gain an overview of the current situation and present their recommendations.
The Zanzibari ministry has made a commitment to expanding the current pension plan to include all elderly persons. Zanzibar has an elderly population in which two thirds of people above 60 years of age continue to work. Nonetheless, 60% do not receive regular income. In addition, although some elderly persons do receive an official pension or a social subsidy, the majority do not receive assistance of any kind.
The Universal Social Pension Programme for Old Age, whose launch is planned for 1st April 2016, is Zanzibar’s first universal plan, and it requires a rigorous implementation plan.
The initial assessment by the SOCIEUX experts, who in this case travelled from the Netherlands, focused on addressing the priorities identified in the country’s Social Protection Policy for subsequent introduction of the pension programme.
It hasn’t been easy to get a precise idea of the issues and key needs. And so the next ten months are considered crucial for identifying and addressing the key implementation issues, as the country does not have a previous programme on which to base the new one and from which to extract lessons learnt.