Welfare system will no longer be a money pit for government

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The welfare system in the country has for many years been bleeding money from the government through corruption, and the Agency for Social Protection will no longer be a money pit for government, the new chief executive Brenda Morin has said.

In a joint press interview yesterday with the department of employment, Agency for Social Protection (ASP) chief executive Morin noted that the agency will become stricter when it comes to deciding who will benefit from welfare. “In the past even if there was a proper structure in place it was not followed properly which led to many abusing the system,” said Ms Morin. Following an investigation and audit it was revealed that the agency was cheated out of millions of rupees from those who didn’t need it. “There was no control in the system and the proper criteria for issuing welfare was not followed properly,”said Ms Morin.

She further added that her job will be to make sure that the proper channels are followed as the agency exists to help those in need. Once assessment of all files starts, people who are benefiting from welfare when they do not need it will be removed, while the incoming applicants will be assessed more strictly. The CEO also noted that there are people who have been benefiting from the system for more than 10 years. “Welfare is a short-term assistance while someone looks for an employment and puts him/herself back on his/her feet and this is what we will be doing,” she added. She further stated that just because someone is unemployed means that they will get assistance from welfare; they must first go to the employment department and start looking for employment.

There will be a system put in place where ASP will be able to see if the person asking for welfare is also looking for a job. “Once we review our files and see that someone doesn’t have a valid reason for welfare, he/she will be removed and referred to the department of employment where he/she will be assisted with finding employment,” noted Ms Morin. She also stated that some of the criteria will be reviewed. The World Bank also reviewed the agency recently and from its recommendations some areas will be reformed, Ms Morin said, adding that these recommendations will help make the welfare system more effective and fair as there are some programmes that should be removed as they do not benefit thegovernment.

Christophe Zialor