Principal Economist in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Johnfunny Mwale, has advised traditional leaders and community members in Blantyre against providing false information in the Unified Beneficiary Registry (UBR).
The UBR process, which is yet to be rolled out in the district, is aimed at registering and considering households for potential inclusion in social protection programs based on a transparent assessment of households needs and conditions.
Mwale was speaking during the Blantyre District extraordinary full council meeting held at Victoria Hotel.
He said it has been observed that people in the communities give false information to data collectors which in turn affects programmes, as the information which is found in the UBR system does not tally with what is needed on the ground.
The principal economist therefore said community leaders should take a leading role in sensitising their subjects on the importance of the UBR and the need to provide right information.
“Chiefs, councilors, and parliamentarians should raise awareness of the UBR in their communities and ensure that all people are registered. Councils have a role to coordinate awareness and implementation on the UBR at district level and use the data in the UBR for planning and programming in line with governments data sharing protocols and procedures,” he added.
In his remarks, Member of Parliament for Blantyre West, Isaac Kaneka, said government should consider engaging organisations like National Initiative for Civic Education Trust to sensitise people on the UBR, considering that people in villages think that every data collection comes with handouts.
“People need to be fully sensitised by professionals because they expect different things when giving their information to data collectors; thats why some of them lie because they are not fully aware of the issue. It is also my plea that once the data has been collected, it should be updated regularly to ensure that the data is accurate because people might relocate to other places,” said Kaneka.
Senior Chief Kuntaja said that the UBR is a welcome development but there is a need to work jointly with traditional leaders throughout the exercise to ensure it is successful, saying organisations which work in isolation tend to fail when it comes to implementation of interventions.
The UBR project is being implemented with support from the World Bank, through National Local Government Finance Committee and it has already been done in 24 districts.
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