At a press conference held at the Voice of Maldives, the Special Envoy of the President Mr Ibrahim Hussain Zaki has today briefed the media on the government’s plan to provide social security benefits for the poor.

Mr Zaki said that the government has now embarked on a policy of transforming the current fragmented social safety net programs into a comprehensive social protection system, ensuring affordability, extension of coverage and effectiveness of intervention packages geared to the most vulnerable.

Speaking in this regard, he said that the government has initiated a programme to remove blanket subsidies and provide targeted subsidies to the most vulnerable sections of the society.

The government aimed to provide food subsidy, electricity subsidy, Water Subsidy, Health Care Subsidy, Education Subsidy, Housing Subsidy, in addition to Old – age pension.

The government believes that these measures would protect the most vulnerable members of society and that it could provide the basis to build a more comprehensive and elaborate set of social policies.

Mr Zaki said the government had the support and cooperation of the international community in this endeavour.

He said the government’s goal was to empower of the poor and ultimately assist them to move out of the poverty trap in the future.

He further said that the government decided to provide subsidies provide good quality, responsible services to ensure social justice, sustainable development and to guarantee equitable distribution of wealth.

Mr Zaki also noted that expenses for initiating the project would be high and that it requires a coordinated commitment between civil society, the government of Maldives and donors to address financial, institutional and capacity constraints.