By James Emejo and Folalumi Alaran in Abuja
The federal and state governments have commenced critical engagement towards the review of the existing social protection policy.
Speaking at a workshop in Illori, Kwara State, with representatives of various states in the North Central zone of the country, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Olusola Idowu, said the consultation sought to harvest state-level input on social protection issues, gaps and challenges to ensure a robust and all- inclusive policy going forward.
Represented by the ministry’s Director, Department of Administration, Mr. Lanre Adekanye, Idowu, however, commended the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF and other key development partners for their faith and buy-in for the programme.
She said the programme acceptance had been demonstrated by their attendance at the workshop despite obvious challenges.
In a statement by the ministry’s Information Officer, Mrs. Imaobong Udoh, the perm sec further urged participants to ensure domestication of the policy in their various states in order to ensure effective implementation and sustainability.
Also, speaking at the workshop, the Director, Department of Social Development, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Abdulkadir Sa’adu, pointed out that the zonal consultations on the policy was important for a comprehensive national social protection framework that would convey the needs of Nigerians.
He was represented by Deputy Director, Social Development, Dr. Sanjo Faniran.
Also, the representative of Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster management and Social Development, who is also the Coordinator of National Safety Net Programme, Alhaji Kabir Abdullahi, enjoined participants to make implementable contributions in order to provide the basis for institutionalising the policy in their states.
He also tasked participants to strive to ensure legislation of the policy as this would guarantee appropriate budgeting provision and cash backing.
According to the statement, representatives of UNDP and UNICEF jointly maintained that social protection policy would boost human capital development, adding that it remained a key aspect of human rights.
The development partners also maintained that all levels of government needed to contribute to the programme.
They commended the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for coordinating the workshop, stressing that it would offer states opportunity to understand the importance of social protection in the country while identifying challenges peculiar to their various states as well as proffering appropriate solutions.