By Emmanuel Elebeke

Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning in collaboration with relevant stakeholders has commenced engagement with the six states of the southwest geopolitical Zone and CSOs working on Social Protection to harness their inputs into the National Social Protection Policy under review.

This is to ensure that everyone is carried along in the Spirit of leaving no one behind as recommended in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

The Permanent Secretary, Budget and National Planning and Chairperson, Technical Working Group (TWG), Mrs. Olusola Idowu, made this disclosure in Lagos, during a Stakeholder’s Consultation and Sensitization Workshop for the South West Zone on the Review of the National Social Protection Policy.

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Idowu, who was represented by the Director, Department of Social Development in the Ministry, Mr. A.B Sa’adu, said that the workshop, organized in collaboration with Save the Children was to specifically harvest input from the South West Zone adding that “this is first in the series of the stakeholder’s engagement fora which will run across the six geo-political zones”.

She also stated that the designed process consultation, Sensitization, and validation would also be repeated before the draft policy was eventually finalized and pushed for approval by the Federal Executive Council and later legislated on by the National Assembly.

Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDG, Princess Adejoke Orelope,- Adefulure disclosed that through technical Partnership with the UNDP Nigeria, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDG, was supporting the 36 states and the FCT to develop Medium- and Long- term SDG- Based Development aspirations of the states.

She also advised that Social Protection Policy development should start from the needs, realities, and priorities of the group which were intended to benefit; noting that a range of factors contributed to the creation of policy and programme systems responsive to the needs of the poor.

According to Adefulure, Public Policy for Social Protection needed to strike a balance between measures designed to prevent shocks which all had a negative impact on the poor.

In the same vein, the Commissioner of Lagos State on Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Abiola Liadi, stated that zonal consultation meeting holding in Lagos State was in line with the THEME’s agenda of the present administration centered at taking Lagos to a greater height by addressing key socio-economic deprivations faced by citizens with the view to impacting their lives positively and which ultimately would not be achievable without institutionalization of social protection policy.

The Commissioner announced that the Social Protection Policy in Nigeria was expanding due to increasing concern of Government at Federal and State levels, the pervasive poverty, inequality, and unemployment of the poor and vulnerable in the country.

He also said that the purpose of the Lagos State Social Protection Policy was to produce a Policy that would capture all existing and ongoing interventions in the area of Social Protection and formulate new ones with the aim to efficiently coordinating and seamlessly harmonizing the various projects and programmes spread across different MDAs and Sectors, which were achieving various degrees of success.

More so, the Senior Policy and Advocacy Specialist, Save The Children Int, Saheed Mustafa, in his goodwill message, revealed that Foreign and Common Wealth and Development Organization funded Child Development Grant Programme (CDGP) Programme implemented by SAVE THE CHILDREN and Action against Hunger was glad to support the review of the National Social Protection Policy led by the FMFBNP through the TWG.

“We are particularly happy to see the caliber of people present at the stakeholder consultation meeting, this clearly indicates the level of importance attached to social protection”

He also noted that Social Protection had become a key programme of government at Federal and State levels to address widespread poverty, “and as such we are happy that FMFBNP is taking the pains to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are consulted to shape the review of this all-important policy.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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