By Lazarus Zakaa, Abuja
The Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba has assured that the ongoing review of the expired Social Protection Policy (2021-2025) would be ready in June 2021.
The minister gave the assurance while declaring open, the inception meeting of the Enhancing Social Protection Programme in Nigeria (ESPPIN) project in Nigeria being implemented by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) with support from Bread for the World, Germany.
Prince Agba while lauding ANEEJ and BfdW for the project to be implemented in five states, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa and Ekiti States as well as Abuja said the Federal Government has reached out to the 36 State Governments, and other stakeholders for their inputs into the draft policy.
“The policy under review has already been presented to the 36 States of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory for their inputs and advice for the purpose of inclusivity and joint ownership.
The process, which is in collaboration with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, our international development partners, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), governmental Organizations and all relevant including Disability Commission has also been inputs from various groups in the society, including Youth groups and the Academia.
A robust Webinar for the general public held via zoom on 16th March, 2021. It is envisaged that the all-inclusive national social protection policy (2021- 2025) would be ready in June 2021,” Prince Clem Agba said.
The Honourable minister noted that poverty and social protection are some of the key issues addressed in the Medium- Term National Development Plans (MTNDPs 2021-2025 & 2026- 2030) and the Long-Term Perpective Plan, christened “Nigeria Agenda 2050”, which, according to him the Federal Government is facilitating with the private sector in the driver’s seat, assuring that these plans will soon be ready for full implementation to stimulate economic growth and development in Nigeria.
Prince Clem Agba thanked Nigeria’s development partners for identifying with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the area of Social Investment Programme and in other areas of governance and sued for its sustenance.
Earlier, Executive Director of ANEEJ, Rev David Ugolor said the project is a deliberate effort from Civil Society to support effort of Government tackling the hydra-headed poverty problem in the country.
“The Federal Government, and a few states in the country have initiated a couple of social investment programmes as a direct response to the poverty situation. The Buhari administration in 2020 committed to a decade-long plan to lift 100,000 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“The Conditional Cash Transfer, School Feeding, the N-Power Programme amongst others are aimed at achieving this set goal.
“On our part, we commit to complement efforts of Government in this arduous responsibility. It is on this premise that we are launching the project, entitled Enhancing Social Protection Programme in Nigeria (ESPPIN).
“This is in our belief that government alone cannot surmount the problem of poverty in Nigeria. Complementarity of government and development partners’ efforts is key to poverty eradication in Nigeria.” Ugolor said.
Also speaking, Director of National Social Safety-Net Coordinating office (NASSCO), Dr Iorwa Apera said ANEEJ’s decision to launch Social Protection Movement in Nigeria at this time is quite apt as it underscores the need for all satkeholders to be committed to the delivery of quality social protection services, especially at the community level.
Dr Apera who was represented by Ms Ruth Adzege said the social protection policy thrust, and the impact of all social protection programmes and its linkages to achieving the twin goal of ending extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.
“We align ourselves with this initiative towards this critical social contract. We also seize this opportunity to recognize ANEEJ for their support to NASSCO in its coordination role for social protection and establishing the building blocks for social protection implementation in Nigeria.
Dr. Iora Apera further said that NASSCO has registered 7 million poor and vulnerable households into the National Social Protection register, and counting and that an additional four (4) million households will be brought into the register in a couple of weeks through the Rapid Response Register of Beneficiaries based on satellite and technology-based pooling and enumeration of the urban poor people impacted by Covid-19, which will bring the register to about 11 million households.
In his contribution, frontline Environmentalist, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo of Environmental Rights Action, congratulated ANEEJ for its effort in addressing issues of poverty through the ESPPIN project and charged stakeholders to also take interest on issues of energy security and energy transition which could help solve issues of poverty in the country.