From Takaful and Karama conference earlier Thursday in Cairo (Photo:Al-Ahram)
Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced on Thursday that starting 2019 cash aid from the Takaful and Karama programme will be disbursed for two children in each family enrolled in the programme instead of three, which should allow a larger number of families to benefit from the programme.
Launched in 2015, Takaful and Karama aims to support impoverished families with school-aged children, the elderly and people with special needs, mainly in Upper Egypt.
The prime minister made the announcement on Thursday during a conference organised by the social solidarity ministry to mark the third anniversary of the Takaful and Karama programme.
The move aims to allow more households to benefit from the cash support programme, Madbouly said, pointing out that more scenarios are being considered to rationalise in-kind support.
"We are currently studying more than one scenario to make sure that subsidies reach those who deserve them," he said.
Madbouly also said that the government does not consider social protection programmes like Takaful and Karama to be charity, but rather as a social contract between the citizen and the government.
During his speech, the prime minister expressed his appreciation for Takaful and Karama and its impact on health and education in rural villages and towns.
Madbouly also indicated that the increase in population in Egypt is a problem that depletes resources and lowers the GDP.
The PM added that Egypt has the highest economic growth rate in the region, but that the state's current resources are not enough to achieve the required development due to the rapidly increasing population.
Madbouly explained that the state has also launched several social protection initiatives such as a minimum for pensions, working to implement the country's new health insurance law, ending waiting lists at hospitals, expanding reproductive health services, expanding Hepatitis C treatment, and controlling the prices of food commodities.
'Takaful and Karama programme has encouraged families to keep their children in school'
Meanwhile, Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali stressed that Takaful and Karama has encouraged families to keep their children in school and undergo regular checkups.
To receive the monthly money transfer, households must meet clearly defined requirements, including an 80 percent school attendance record and three visits per year to health clinics by mothers.
As a result, the school attendance rate of children from beneficiary families has reached 100 percent, the minister said.
She said that her ministry, in cooperation with the health ministry, has computerised the medical reports of beneficiaries with disabilities to ensure that no fraud takes place and that financial support reaches those who need it.
The minister said that 2.213 million households currently benefit from the programme.
The amount of cash provided to households depends on the number of children and their school level.
The Karama programme provides a set amount per individual. In order to reach the poorest households, participants are selected using a proxy means test. In the Takaful programme, 89 percent of recipients are women.