President Sisi gives top priority to preserving Egyptian families: Social Solidarity Minister

MENA , Wednesday 30 Mar 2022

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi attaches special importance to preserving Egyptian families and improving citizens’ quality of life across various spheres, affirmed Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj.

Nivine El-Kabbage
Caption : Minister of Social Solidarity Nivine El-Kabbage in her interview with MENA on Wednesday (Photo: MENA)

During a meeting held on Wednesday with Middle East News Agency (MENA), the minister discussed the National Family Development Project, which was launched by El-Sisi with the aim of securing a decent life for all citizens.

The Ministry of Social Solidarity is keen on supporting Egypt’s most impoverished and vulnerable segments, as part of the president’s directives in this regard, added the minister.

She also said that several categories have been included in the ministry’s support programmes, adding that great attention is being given to amending the needed legislation to protect ‘kafala families.’

Most of those covered by the social protection umbrella have been included in the Takaful and Karama Programme, except about 300,000 families, said the minister.

The programme now includes new segments of society, including breadwinners, those above 65 years old, people with disabilities, people suffering from illness, and orphans, she added.

Further segments will eventually become part of the programme include unmarried women who reached 50 years of age, and professions that need urgent support for a limited amount of time, like fishermen who are forced to temporarily suspend their work.

Al-Qabbaj added that efforts are underway to issue a unified law and programme for social aid to include all eligible citizens.

Regarding the suggested legislative amendments that aim to support kafala mothers, the minister affirmed that these amendments mainly aim to make adoption more accessible and widespread.

Mothers who adopt a baby in their very first months need privileges and legal rights that allow them to provide the necessary care for the infant, she went on to say.

Currently, adoptive mother cannot travel without requesting prior approval from the ministry, she said, adding that social and sporting clubs also do not allow adopted children to be given membership.  

“We are exerting painstaking efforts on the legislative front to ensure that children and foster parents are protected against all forms of discrimination and that everyone’s rights are preserved,” said El-Qabbaj.

The minister also stressed that foster parents have the full right to feel close familial ties with these children.

Presidential directives in this respect will greatly contribute to solving these problems, she went on to say.

The minister also discussed the ministry’s efforts in supporting female breadwinners and individuals with special needs.

The ministry has increased its allocations to people with special needs to EGP 5 billion, representing 27% of all cash support.

El-Qabbaj added that female breadwinners obtain 19% of all cash support.

“Women constitute about 75% of the total beneficiaries of the ministry’s social programme,” she added.

El-Qabbaj also emphasised that her ministry is very keen on supporting and maximising women’s rights.

“We are cooperating with the relevant organisations in order to provide all support to women,” she affirmed.

Moreover, the ministry is keen on supporting Egypt’s most vulnerable women to enable them to overcome any difficulties they may face.

Consequently, new centres affiliated with the ministry dubbed ‘Working Women Centres’ have been established to provide the necessary care for the elderly and people with special needs; a matter which will alleviate the burden on women, she further said.

Centre are equipped to provide training in several areas, give out loans, and create opportunities for Egyptian women to work from home, empowering women economically.

The minister also said that she unequivocally supports working women, adding that development in Egyptian society is based on female empowerment by providing them with the necessary potentials.

Regarding violence against women, El-Qabbaj said that her ministry has established nine specialised centres to support victims of domestic abuse so far.

It also established the first centre for victims of human trafficking to support women who experience difficult family conditions.

When asked about the social solidarity ministry’s role in the Decent Life Presidential Initiative, El-Qabbaj said that her ministry has developed the first database of poor families in Egypt, noting that the database includes 9.5 million families that consist of 35 million citizens. 

Furthermore, she explained that the number of beneficiaries of cash support rose from 1.68 million families in 2014 to 3.8 million in 2021, representing a 21% increase.

Following the directives of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, the number of beneficiaries is expected to increase to 4.2 million families, she added.

Additionally, the annual budget of the cash subsidy programme increased from EGP 3.7 billion in 2014 to EGP 19 billion in 2021.

El-Qabbaj also pointed out that about three million Meeza cards were issued for citizens receiving subsidies, and 200,000 cards were issued for those benefiting from micro-enterprises.

Furthermore, President El-Sisi approved a 13 percent increase in pensions that will be applied in April rather than July.

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