By Nana Musa
Abuja, Sept. 1, 2020 The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to coordinating policy and programmes across sectors to achieve the objective of institutionalising social protection in the country.
Mr Clement Agba, the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, made this known at the high level breakfast dialogue on UN joint fund for social protection to accelerate implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Agba said that the ministry had the mandate to coordinate policies and plan of the government as encapsulated in Chapter 66 Act 71 of 1993 that established the National Planning Commission.
“President Muhammadu Buhari in his strive to accelerate response to protections arising from emergencies, created the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to anchor some critical aspects of social protection,” he said.
He said that the ministry in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) had commenced the process of reviewing the current National Social Protection Policy, which would terminate in 2020 by setting up an inter-ministerial stakeholders’ Technical Working Committee (TWG).
He said that government would work with development partners to produce a revised National Social Protection policy that would run from 2021 to 2025 and a long term perspective plan vision 2050 before the end of year 2020.
“The ministry is ready to work collaboratively with the ministry of humanitarian affairs and other relevant sectors including UN agencies and other development partners to develop a robust draft Bill on Social Protection for passage by the National Assembly (NASS).
“All these and other critical steps toward the promotion of social protection will enable the government to maximise the utilisation of resources in the UN-Joint support for social protection to accelerate SDGs achievement in Nigeria,” he said.
The minister expressed appreciation to the government, UN agencies, World Bank, Department For International Development (DFID) and all development partners, and Save the Children, an NGO, for their continued support.
Agba said that the focus of the administration was to alleviate poverty with determination to lift 100 million people out of poverty within the next 10 years.
“All relevant stakeholders present on social protection will no doubt provide an opportunity to discuss the best option or strategy to move social protection forward in the interest of the entire population.
“It will also consolidate a common approach for a productive collaboration that will enable Nigeria achieve sustainable SDGs since social protection is a key strategic target for poverty eradication in the Goal 1- end poverty in all its forms everywhere,” Agba said.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq commended the government on its plans for eradicating poverty.
She also commended all the development partners and promised to support the policy.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon said that social protection was an important tool for addressing vulnerability and reducing poverty.
“Poverty is about wellbeing, it encompasses hunger, malnutrition, limited access to education, healthcare, basic social services, discrimination, social exclusion and insufficient participation in decisions making processes,” Kallon said.
Kallon said that UN system had been supporting the government to develop holistic, effective and integrated social protection system in the country.
He said that there were some social protection challenges in the country- vulnerability, mapping, inequality and poverty assessment.
Kallon said that census should be backed with a systematic legal identity for all citizens and based on the process, a reliable social registry system could be built over time.