PRESS RELEASE – The Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government & Community Empowerment hosted a technical workshop for cross-sectorial stakeholders in the development of a Proxy Means Test for the dispensation of appropriate social assistance to targeted segments of the population.
St. Lucia’s National Eligibility Test, referred to as the SL-NET is critical for the progress of the Social Safety Net Reform (SSNR) currently being undertaken by the Ministry, and by extension the Government of Saint Lucia. The SL-NET or Proxy Means test would serve as an objective and scientific method of determining eligibility among persons requesting social assistance. It will identify the poor from the non-poor and the indigent.
Participants of SL-NET Workshop were asked to critically review the Proxy Means Test (SL-NET) based on the analysis and recommendations from the World Bank Consultant and Economist-Ms. Yadira Diaz; and the UN Women Case Study on the SL-NET prepared by Ms. Debbie Budlender.
“In an economic climate where things are tough, it is incumbent upon any serious government to focus on those persons who will feel the burden and will not be able cope. Those of us with an income and access to resources, we feel the pinch. Just imagine how it is for those who have no income,” said Minister the Honourable Harold Dalsan in highlighting the significance of the endeavor, and the Government of Saint Lucia’s commitment to social protection.
The workshop was followed by a Technical Working Session today Friday, September 5th, 2014 to chart the way forward for the refinement of the Proxy Means Test based on the analysis and recommendations from Thursday’s SL-NET Workshop.
UNICEF Social and Economic Policy Specialist, Jawad Aslam who has been heavily involved in the SSNR process expressed great satisfaction with the progress thus far, and the commended the level of participation by stakeholders.
The SL-NET would enable Government to channel its limited funds to those who are most in need, based on objective criteria. It will ensure that those who need the assistance will receive it and those who do not are not.