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King urges expanding scope of social protection, enhancing services for beneficiaries

By JT - Jul 16,2020 - Last updated at Jul 16,2020

His Majesty King Abdullah speaks during a visit to the National Aid Fund on Thursday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday stressed the need to expand the scope of social protection to better the most vulnerable, while continuing to build on the progress achieved amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to enhance services currently offered to beneficiaries. 

During a visit to the National Aid Fund (NAF), King Abdullah called for inviting feedback from beneficiaries to ensure the proper targeting and provision of aid, commending the creation of a unified national registry as a tool for the effective targeting of the most vulnerable, according to a Royal Court statement. 

His Majesty praised the proactive efforts by the NAF and the Social Security Corporation (SSC) over the past months to respond quickly to various developments.

The King also stressed the importance of the NAF measures taken to support daily wage workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the support packages provided by the SSC to maintain job retention in the private sector and support firms affected by the lockdown.

For his part, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said His Majesty had directed the government, from the very start of the COVID-19 crisis to safeguard citizens’ living standards, especially daily wage workers who had lost their sources of income. 

During the visit, the King was briefed on the support offered by the NAF, which increased to cover 90 per cent of households that applied for benefits — up from 60 per cent — to extend to over 420,000 families.

A NAF programme to support daily wage workers and those in the informal sector targeted 250,000 households, disbursing temporary cash support at a cost of JD164 million, the statement said.

The unified national registry enabled the effective targeting of the most vulnerable Jordanian and non-Jordanian households, while the e-payment infrastructure facilitated the process of disbursing support.

His Majesty was also briefed on the support from the SSC to the private sector to provide firms with an additional liquidity of nearly JD120 million and enable them to retain their employees.

SCC measures included reducing the cost of subscriptions on private sector firms and employees, which benefited 17,000 firms and 474,000 insured employees. 

The SCC programmes also included distributing in-kind assistance to 113,000 vulnerable workers at a cost of JD4.5 million.

Under the Tadhamon (solidarity) 1 and 2 programmes, the SSC helped cover 50 per cent of workers’ wages, benefiting 106,000 workers and 11,000 firms. 

Moreover, the SSC disbursed direct cash support (a maximum of JD450 per person) to former and current SSC subscribers, benefiting 261,000 at a total of JD38 million.

Through its economic recovery support package, the SSC targeted sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic such as tourism and transportation, benefiting 148,000 workers and 7,000 firms, in addition to providing direct cash support to 171,000 workers at a total disbursement of JD29 million, the statement said. 

Royal Hashemite Court Chief Yousef Issawi, Adviser to His Majesty for Communication and Coordination Bisher Khasawneh, and Adviser to His Majesty for Policies and Media Kemal Al Nasser accompanied the King on the visit. 

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