Adding to the Government's Social Protection Response for a 'Cash Plus' Scheme (Brief)

First case of COVID-19 Outbreak declaration and measures as of November2020, Timor-Leste had recorded just 30 cases of COVID-19 and no community transmission and no deaths. Nevertheless, the economic consequences of the pandemic have been severe and far-reaching. As part of a stimulus package for the economy, the Government enacted the first near-universal cash transfer in the country’s young history. At a cost of over USD 60 million, the Uma Kain payment took the form of a one-off cash transfer of USD 200 – equal to USD100 per month for the first two months of the state of emergency in April and May – to all households with a monthly income of less than USD 500 in all of the 452 villages in the country. The pay-outs finally took place during the month of June (and July in Oecusse). The experience with COVID-19 has significantly increased government buy-in for universal social protection and a new Economic Recovery Plan was approved by the Council of Ministers on 12 August 2020 and its implementation is forthcoming.