Representatives of various States in the North Central zone of Nigeria, development partners and relevant stakeholders on Social Protection have converged, today, Thursday, February 11, 2021, on Ilorin, Kwara State for a three-day zonal consultation on review and institutionalization of Social Protection policy.
The consultation, organised by Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, in collaboration with UNDP, UNICEF and other key development partners, is aimed at harvesting State-level input on social protection issues, gaps and challenges, to ensure a robust and all inclusive Social Protection policy.
Declaring the workshop open, the Permanent Secretary, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Olusola Idowu, urged participants to ensure domestication of the policy in their various states in order to ensure effective implementation and sustainability.
Idowu, who was represented by the Director, Department of Administration, Mr Lanre Adekanye, also commended the development partners and other participants for their faith and buy-in for the programme, which according to her, was demonstrated by their attendance at the Workshop despite obvious challenges.
In his opening remarks, the Director, Department of Social Development, Mr. Abdulkadir Bolaji. Sa’adu, represented by the Deputy Director, Social Development, Dr Sanjo O. Faniran, stressed that zonal consultations on the policy was important for a comprehensive National Social Protection Policy that would convey what the country aspired for and was proud to present to Nigerians.
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 institutionalizing the policy in their states.
He also charged participants to strive to ensure legislation of the policy as this would guarantee appropriate budgeting provision and cash backing.
In their messages at the event, representatives of UNDP and UNICEF jointly maintained that Social Protection policy would boost human capital development, adding that it was a key aspect of human rights.
They maintained that all levels of government needed to contribute to the programme.
They also commended the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for coordinating the workshop, saying that it would offer states opportunity to understand the importance of social protection in Nigeria while identifying challenges peculiar to their various states and proffering appropriate solutions.
Papers on the following topics would be presented:- Current Social Protection Policy and Overview of Policy Review Process, Social Register as a Gateway to Social Assistance Programmes, Review of Nigerian Vulnerability and Poverty Profile: Feedback on key issues from the North Central and Brief update on Social Protection in North Central, Key issues and challenges, among others.