Social Safety Nets Electronic System
Ministry of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
While Egypt’s Social Safety Nets (SSN) system, broadly defined, commands a large share of the budget, its impact on poverty and human capital development is limited. The system has many weaknesses, including fragmentation and poor coordination; low coverage of the poor; weak links to promotion of human capital; and social and economic inefficiency. In recognition of these weaknesses which are mainly affecting the poor and most vulnerable, the Government of Egypt is undertaking several measures to consolidate and strengthen its SSN system. There is a general consensus within the government and its development partners that Egypt needs to move away from an inefficient and untargeted SSN system to a more efficient and targeted one. Currently, much of the spending on SSN goes to fuel subsidies, which mostly benefit the rich, and are ineffective in reducing poverty. Egypt’s non-subsidy SSN programs are fragmented and limited in scope. Egypt’s SSN system comprises programs commonly observed in many other countries: cash transfers to alleviate poverty and build human capital; social care services in institutions, communities and for families; universal and targeted food and energy subsidies; and programs that aim to help individuals build skills, find jobs, and, in general, improve their earnings opportunities. These programs fall under the purview of several ministries and agencies: Ministry of Manpower and Migration (e.g., job intermediation), Ministry of Social Solidarity (e.g., cash transfer, social care for vulnerable groups); Social Fund for Development (e.g., training for unemployed, micro-credits); Ministry of Finance (e.g., fuel subsidies, social health insurance); Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade (e.g., food subsidies, food rations, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)). Egypt’s subsidies, for energy and food, represent a large fiscal drain and are the largest element of Egypt’s SSN system. Fuel subsidies on average exceed 6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and account for about 20 percent of budget expenditures, dwarfing other elements of social safety net: food subsidies (about 2 percent of GDP), ration card subsidies (0.5 percent of GDP), and cash transfers to the poor (0.1 percent of GDP). Egypt’s universal energy subsidies are highly regressive, benefiting mainly the rich. Recent household survey data show that nearly 60 percent of energy subsidies go to the top two income quintiles. In the case of urban households, the top two quintiles received three quarters of the total energy subsidies. Ninety-one percent of subsidies for gasoline used for cars went to the top income quintile and virtually none to the bottom one.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Achieve the goals of sustainable development with regard to the social security system through: • Building a system to activate the programs and social security policies approved by the government, and protecting the rights and benefits of the social groups with low-income and marginalized groups in addition to guaranteeing the delivery of governmental support. • Providing a designated and qualified services, which applies modern methods, achieve better quality criteria, characterized by transparency, satisfy citizens’ requirements, and achieving the Community accountability standards.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Develop the info-structure system that can deliver the evidence-based guidance to achieve the anticipated goals from social justice, and prevent the negative implications of economic development, through incubating the vulnerable groups by a set of well-designed supportive policies, for protecting, supporting and guaranteeing the decent livelihood for those vulnerable groups. In this regard, the Ministry of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform has developed and is currently managing, in coordination with the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, Ministry of Insurance and Social Solidarity, and Ministry of Petroleum, an electronic system, referred to as the Family Card System (FCS), which is supported by a Family Smart Card (FSC) database. The FSC is being used to provide citizens with different support services, such as food ration subsidies, pensions, and will soon be used for distribution of LPG subsidies. The system uses smart cards to deliver such services. So far, the FSC database has over 20 million families that is being used as the main seed for the National Unified Registry (UNR). The UNR system is a new Management Information System (MIS) that is established to support the integration between the different Social Assistance Programs (SAP) with an ultimate goal to reach an integrated Safety Net in the Arab Republic of Egypt (ARE). The UNR Database contains the IDs, names, addresses and socioeconomic data for approximately 20 million Egyptian households – some 100 million of Egyptian citizens- and plays a significant role and efforts to improve the targeting of beneficiaries of poverty reduction programs. The Social Safety Nets Electronic System aims to build a society that provides social services and better support for the Egyptian citizens targeting the eligible beneficiaries carefully. In addition to ensuring the delivery of government support and social services to eligible beneficiaries and providing data and adequate mechanisms for the decision-maker for the induction of future policies specialized in support, social protection and the distribution of budget support on the Egyptian families fairly. Develop the mechanism of social benefits to be precisely and efficiently delivered. Allow the targeting systems from different sort of social benefits and transfers to be accurately designed. Conclude the evidence-based scenarios that allow the national planners, policy designers and policy makers to manage the social safety net profile in an excellent manner. Consolidating and strengthening of non-subsidy SSN in order to better target the poor and to mitigate the adverse impact of subsidy reform. In addition, transform Egypt’s SSN system into a more efficient one that would allow the government to provide a larger and more meaningful benefit to the poor. Establishing a sound SSN system would involve building the infrastructure to identify the poor, including building a national unified registry that includes database of the poor and vulnerable, by building the Unified National Registry.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The UNR system strategically supports the delivery of social services to the citizens of Egypt, by harnessing the UNR system’s human, technical, and operational resources to facilitate institutions responsible for delivering such services. The UNR serves as a broker that interconnects all participating entities. In all cases, these entities feed into or transfer data to the UNR system, and/or benefit from and extract data from the UNR and from other entities’ databases. Therefore, both “pull” and “push” methods of data exchange are being used. As a population registry, the UNR serves multiple policies and service delivery programs. In this regard, the UNR is a ‘thin database system’ that holds a minimal dataset necessary to enable (i) interconnectivity between participating institutions, and (ii) a master file of all persons and households who are enrolled in the programs of the participating institutions, and (iii) a table of key common variables that are used by each program within each participating institution. The minimal dataset in UNR includes an indicator (for each benefit/service program managed by the participating institutions) of whether or not each person and/or household that is recorded in the UNR database is in receipt of such benefits or services.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Ministry of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform developed and is currently managing the Social Safety Nets Electronic System through the Social Safety Nets Unit. So far, the Unified National Registry (UNR) database has over 20 million families – some 100 million of Egyptian citizens - that is used could be used as the main seed for the National Unified Registry (UNR). For correct implementation of the UNR system, an appropriately high level of coherence should be achieved between the UNR and the various participating entity databases.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Vision: A society whose citizens enjoy social justice. Target: Create a Unified National Database that offer better services to the citizens and achieve the efficiency of the uses of public support for the country budget items. Deliverables: Build social services targeted eligible people accurately based on national data base aims Egyptian families includes basic data, supported by national ID’s and indicators linked to the targeting and available to government entities. Direct support services to families and individuals with real needs, Contributes to social and political stability. Provide sufficient data for decision makers to prepare the required reports and statistics to put the current subsidy policies and extrapolate future policies. Create a fair methodology for assessing the maturity citizen subsidy services To achieve this, sustainability must be implemented from a single point of centralized management is responsible for the accrual system, monitoring and targeting the development of indicators in cooperation with other ministries. Follow-up beneficiaries of social services entitlement periodically and continue building a national database of ministries and government agencies services. Budget: The project funded and technically supported by the World Bank through both Transition Fund and Loan Agreement. The Transition fund budget allocated for the project is 1.1 Million USD and the Loan agreement budget allocated for the project is 6.7 Million USD.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The initiative involves public, private sector and International organizations. The public sector represented by many Egyptian Entities such as: Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade (MOSIT), Ministry of Social Solidarity (MOSS), Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy (MOERE), Ministry of Petroleum (MOP), Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Interior (MOI), Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Central Authority for Organization & Administration (CAOA), Egyptian Electric Utility & Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency (EGY-ERA), and Social Fund for Development (SFD). The private sector represented by the contracted tenders for consultancy services aimed to support the initiative goals. The World Bank is a key player in the initiative by supporting it financially and technically.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
• The 1st version of NSSN-DB was released. • Electronic applications to enquiry about targeting data from linked databases. • NSSN-DB was linked to the key national DBs, through the G2G network. • Data-exchange programs have been built and approved. • The Grievance Mechanism System has been built.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
• Complete and update the key-databases. • Achieve a posterior qualitative case-studies for the classified households as “not-eligible”, to make sure that these households should be fired, because of the sensitivity of exclusion, especially if the exclusion process came-out with a huge set of households. • Having a clear methodology for updating and filling the missing fields in the National Databases to be ready for integrating and exchanging data; to have a real database for those who deserve subsidy according to dynamic criteria.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
• Build a society that provides social services and better support for the Egyptian citizen targeting the eligible beneficiaries carefully. • Ensure the delivery of government support and social services to eligible beneficiaries. • Provide data and adequate mechanisms for the decision-maker for the induction of future policies specialized in support, social protection and the distribution of budget support on the Egyptian families fairly.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform
Institution Type:   Ministry  
Contact Person:   Magdy Elhennawy
Title:   Social Safety Nets Unit Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   0224000189
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   13 Salah Salem Street
Postal Code:   11765
City:   Cairo
State/Province:   Cairo

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