In Mozambique, the number of officially registered COVID-19 infection cases in May 2020 rose to 149, with no record of deaths. The country is in a state of emergency since April 01.The restrictive measures that have been adopted to curb the spread of the virus have resulted in challenges to millions of Mozambicans who depend on social subsidies, and the
The Government, through the Ministry of Health, is implementing a multisectoral plan to respond to a possible COVID-19 epidemic, with prevention as the main focus, that includes measures to safeguard the social protection of beneficiaries who are temporarily prevented from exercising their professional activity. While at the moment there are no specific programs or measures related
to COVID-19 and addressing vulnerable people especially children and people living with disabilities, the government has been mobilizing resources from its cooperation partners to finance the prevention and treatment of Covid-19, and to support households and micro-businesses in the framework of strengthening social protection, and to cover the budget deficit arising from the fall in revenue associated with the slowdown in economic activity.
The Government of Mozambique launched this May the Strategic Plan for Responsive Governance to COVID-19 aligned with the country’s economic and social plan (PES) for the next 5 years. NGOs including the Mozambique Platform for Social Protection (PSCM-PS) have advocated for the introduction of an unemployment benefit to informal workers already registered with the INSS and to consider a special subsidy to be paid to all beneficiaries registered in the subsystem of basic social services. In addition to advising the National Social Action Institute (INAS) to consider “expanding the coverage of its programs to all candidates on the waiting list, and increasing subsidies over the next six months, to compensate households for loss of income.
Considering the fact that 88% of the economically active population in Mozambique are informal workers, who do not enjoy labor or social protection, NGOs have proposed to support informal workers who are not registered with the INSS or INAS, on a short term basis.
Civil Society work has also been affected by the pandemic, with many organizations putting on hold any activities that require face to face meetings, However much of the work is now conducted remotely through ICT.
Some lessons and recommendations:
- COVID-19 has affected already weakened social protection networks, with potential implications for health services, social work, education, agriculture/food security, work, transport, security, and well-being in general, with an impact on the increase of the vulnerability of the target groups of social protection and beneficiaries of the PSSB.
- Mozambique and other African countries must adopt comprehensive strategies that integrate preventive interventions and initiatives that guarantee the mitigation of the effects of COVID-19 in the most vulnerable people.
- There is a need to take measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations and in particular, on the social protection priority groups, reducing the increase in vulnerability in individuals and to mitigate the shock in households considered to be the poorest and most vulnerable.