Please see below the questions and comments from the audience. We invite you all to send your comments and let us know if you have any further questions on the topic. 


Question 1 (Meried Mengesha): In my opinion the big challenge to finance such kinds of emergency is the absence of social and emergency funds especially in developing countries. So how they immediately found finance to do this?

This question was answered during the Q&A session. Please check it here.


Question 2 (Portia Kekana): Is it always an issue of not having fiscal space? What about the political will that is informed by solidarity and right-based approaches?

This question was answered during the Q&A session. Please check it here.


COMMENT from Ian Orton: The figures of social assistance being the main response to C-19 is a bit misleading. There are many social insurance and existing schemes that are not captured by that data as these schemes were designed to react to any shock and were not amended for C-19. Pre-existing SI sickness and unemployment benefits, pensions etc. So, the idea that C-19 was mainly social assistance distorts the picture a little bit.

This comment was addressed during the Q&A session. Please check it here.


Question 3/COMMENT (Arindam Laha): As suggested by Delphine, “universalization is the ultimate goal”. Do you in favour of universal basic income scheme as a part of “progressive universalism” strategy?

This question was answered during the Q&A session. Please check it here.


Question 4/COMMENT (Fabio Veras): Dear Delphine, one of the biggest issue is to keep database updates (e.g. social registries). Potential beneficiaries will only do it in a regular basis if they fill it is worth doing so. Without long-term and universal or quasi-universal support this incentive won't be there. Unless large scale subsidised social insurance schemes are attractive enough for informal workers. The challenge is how new quasi-universal schemes and/or innovative and subsidized social insurance for informal workers can be set-up during the recovery phase using these new "databases" quickly put together to target the "missing middle" informal workers? The technology seems to be available, but how will these new programmes be funded? What are the options?

This question was answered during the Q&A session. Please check it here.


Question 5 (to Lindi and Mark): Why is it taking the South African government so long to roll out its emergency grant (the C-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant) when Namibia managed its rollout quickly? (From Jeremy Seekings)

This question was answered during the Q&A session. Please check it here.


Question 6 (to Delphine): Would you please share what strategies are currently taken by LICs to finance their health sector (and may be other SP aspects)? Do they rely on international loans or grants? (From Flora Aninditya)

This question was answered during the Q&A session. Please check it here.


Question 7 (Ahmad Ansyori, Indonesia): Since lockdown, many industries impacted, and they ask for relaxation in Social insurance contributions. How to treat this issue?

This question was partially answered during the Q&A session. Please check it here and below for more information:

South Africa has relatively low social insurance contributions. The two main social insurance contributions are collected through:

1. Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) contributions (1% of wages contributed by Employers, 1% of wages contributed by Employees – both up to a maximum threshold).

2. Road Accident Fund (RAF) Levy, which forms part of the price of fuel per litre.

South Africa has not implemented a blanket relaxation to Unemployment Insurance contributions, as it negates the solidarity and insurance principles of the fund. However, any employers who are unable to meet these contributions can request a directive from the Commissioners of SARS and / or the Commissioner of the UIF for relief during this period.

There is no explicit relief for the RAF levy – in part because sales of fuel are automatically lower during the lockdown.

South Africa has a payroll tax that funds workplace education and training, namely the Skills Development Levy. A 4-month holiday is implemented during the lockdown.


Question 8 (Joao Melo): Having as a goal to bridge Humanitarian-Dev nexus, how to finance social protection in low income countries with nascent social protection system (no fiscal space, no single registry, etc) with fragile institutions?

Countries’ strategy to design, finance and implement a robust social protection system should be part of a comprehensive and medium-to-long-term development strategy anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will help leverage complementarities across sectors (e.g., health, education, social protection, access to water and sanitation).

Adequate governance is indeed key to ensure that the available financing for national development agenda is effectively and efficiently spent. As the challenge is not just about spending more but better, around a spending strategy sequenced through medium-term budget frameworks and supported by strong public financial management and institutions. Thus avoiding resources being lost to inefficiencies.


Question 9 (Mena Mokammel): Is COVID-19 a momentum for social protection to be finally universally introduced worldwide?

The crisis gives a premium to scalable safety nets and social protection systems. This is a feature that countries need to build in their systems going forward in order to reach as many households as deemed necessary, both on a regular basis and when responding to possible shocks.

The COVID-19 measures in South Africa will in the next 6 months see 7.2 million caregivers, who were not covered before,  receive income support through additions of R500 per month to the child support grant. In addition, an estimated 8 million of the previously uncovered unemployed and those in the informal sector will receive income support of R350 per month through the special COVID-19 social relief of distress (SRD) grant.

This provides an opportunity to reach a lot more people through the social relief of distress programme beyond COVID-19. In recent years, there have been requests for an increase in the SRD budget but there was hesitation because the system was not sufficiently tight. Owing to the current pandemic, we are moving in the direction of automating and tightening-up the system to ensure increased access to those experiencing undue hardship due to loss of income or breadwinner. Going forward, support to the elderly, children and persons with disabilities will continue to be means-tested until will can sufficiently address inequality, poverty, unemployment and poor economic growth.