ASP gives details on eight revised statutory benefits

ASP gives details on eight revised statutory benefits
ASP gives details on eight revised statutory benefits

Africa-Press – Seychelles. The Agency for Social Protection in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs yesterday conducted a half-day workshop to apprise members of the National Assembly, district administrators and ASP staff, of eight revised statutory benefits and a new one – multiple births benefit – which all came into effect on January 1, 2024.

The workshop at the Seychelles Coastguard Auditorium, Ile Persévérance, forms part of the agency’s educational campaign for the year.

It followed the revision of those benefits by the Ministry of Finance, National Planning and Trade, and which was announced by Minister Naadir Hassan in the 2024 budget speech before the National Assembly on November 3, 2023.

The rationale for the revision was because those benefits were not up to date with the economic reality that the beneficiaries were facing. They had not been revised for many years, and for some, this was more than 10 years.

The workshop was to provide details about the statutory benefits including the revised rates and procedures to apply for those benefits. In return, the MNAs, DAs and ASP staff are expected to impart those information in their respective districts.

The benefits are work-related (maternity and paternity), guardianship (foster child and foster parent), children assistance (semi-orphan and abandoned child/orphan), death-related (survivor), and Praslin/La Digue health-related (expectant mother allowance).

New among the benefits is the family-related benefit (multiple births) for a mother who has given birth to two or more children. Given that the first child is not included in the benefit, a monthly rate of R3,134.00 will be attributed to the second child while in the case of a triple birth and above, the mother will receive a monthly cap of R6,633.47 for all the children.

The duration of the benefit is up to five years from birth. Applications are to be made from birth in respective districts on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.

Another major change in the benefits is the abolition of the R1,500 allowance benefit for registered foster parents, which has been replaced with a one-off new rate of up to R25,000 depending on recommendations from the social services division.

In her opening remark, chief executive of ASP Brenda Morin, said the exercise undertaken to revise the statutory benefits is in line with the government’s agenda through the agency to ensure that the demands of society as a whole are suitably met and those in need are able to access the relatable benefits.

She added that the provision of social services is the foundation of the government’s obligation to its people, in order for them to be able to take part in the economic development of the country.

“As stated in the Agency for Social Protection Act, 2011, the mandate of the agency is to ensure the provision of comprehensive social security services and social relief against vulnerability within the constitutional and legislative framework of Seychelles. This mandate is delivered within strict compliance mechanism to ensure the integrity of the social assistance system is maintained,” she stated.

After Mrs Morin’s opening remark, the workshop turned into a question and answer session where the delegates interacted with a six-member panel from the ASP, employment division and social affairs.

In an interview with the media, Ms Morin said it is the duty of the MNAs, DAs and ASP staff to inform the constituents of the benefits available and to give out the right information.

She noted that in the event that the beneficiaries do find that the allowance allocated are not enough to suit their needs or have been reduced or terminated, they still can seek to apply for social welfare assistance.

The overview of the rate changes in the statutory benefits:

. Maternity – Old rate R2,480 – New rate R6,633.47 (increase of 167%)

. Paternity – Old rate R1,240 – New rate R3,316.75 (increase of 167%)

. Semi-orphan – Old rate R1,300 – New rate R2,350 (increase of 81%)

. Abandoned Child / Orphan – Old rate R,1540 – New rate R3,134 (increase of 104%)

. Foster Child – Old rate R1,300 – New rate R3,134 (increase of 141%)

. Foster Parent – Old rate R1,500 now abolished – New rate up to R25,000 one off

. Survivor – Old rate R2480 – New rate R5,224 (increase of 111%)

. Expectant Mother Allowance – Old rate R1,500 – New rate R5,000 (increase of 233%)

. Multiple Births – New rate R3,134 for second child and a cap of R6,633.47 for triple birth and above.

Present for yesterday’s workshop were the Minister for Local Government and Community Affairs Rose-Marie Hoareau and the Minister for Employment and Social Affairs Patricia Francourt, as well as Deputy Speaker Gervais Henrie.

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