Successful public spending to reduce poverty requires targeting benefits to right people

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SUCCESSFUL and financially feasible public spending to reduce poverty requires targeting to prevent the benefits dripping into the hands of the non-poor.

This was expressed in the “Solomon Islands Poverty Maps Based in the 2012/13 Household Income and Expenditure Survey and the 2009 Census of Population” report.

The report emphasized that if poor households can be easily identified, transfer payments and other direct interventions can be made with the approach of giving directly advocated in the form of conditional cash transfers.

However, also stated was that there are concerns regarding the above mechanism’s applicability, particularly because of unknown interplay between new sources of social transfers and existing informal safety net with the inclusion that informational requirements for screening and the financial infrastructure for making direct payments may not be present.

On top of that, the report says distributing benefits to only a number of people in any one village or area requires institutions and personnel that can withstand temptations of corruption and reciprocal obligations that can be present in clan-based societies.

The study mentioned that if there is relatively high number of poor people in certain areas, spatial targeting may be attainable in which extra development projects and public services are provided for everyone in those areas.

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