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Home News FG, UNICEF, Other Partners Commit To Enhance Social Protection

FG, UNICEF, Other Partners Commit To Enhance Social Protection

by Felicia Awoyemi
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The Federal Government has, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, and development partners, emphasized the critical need to strengthen the social protection system to address growing poverty.  


This was contained in a communique jointly endorsed by UNICEF Representative, Ms. Cristian Munduate, EU Ambassador in Nigeria, Ms. Samuela Isopi, and Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of The Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, at the end of the 3rd Edition of the Social Protection Cross Learning Summit held in Abuja.

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According to the communique, Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, faces significant challenges in human capital development, and deprivations in health, education, nutrition, water, hygiene, sanitation, and child protection.


It noted that the situation underscores the urgency for a comprehensive and effective social protection strategies.


“In response to these challenges, the Government of Nigeria introduced a cash transfer program, providing 25,000 Naira over a three-month period to poor and vulnerable households. This initiative aims to alleviate immediate economic pressures and mitigate the socio-economic impact of recent economic reforms.


“Our goal is to create a comprehensive support network that addresses the multifaceted needs of children and families, ultimately leading to improved outcomes in health, education, and overall well-being. We must work together to bridge gaps and strengthen coordination,” the communique said


Earlier, in his address, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Edun, emphasized the importance of integrated social protection systems.


According to him, Nigeria is committed to ensuring access to social protection for all and removing the barriers that people face in accessing these services.


“As a result, the government is engaged to implement, with the support from relevant stakeholders, including the Social Protection Development Partner Group, the agreed action points from the summit,” he said.


On her part, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Munduate, on behalf of the Social Protection Development Partners Group, stated that, “Social protection is crucial in realizing the rights of every child.


She noted that Child-sensitive social protection is key to ensuring that every child reaches their full potential.


The UNICEF Representative commended the Government for significant strides on the development of several programmes and single registry.


“However, there is a need to ensure stronger linkages between social protection and essential social services with focus on health, education, and nutrition.


“Despite advancements, social protection coverage remains low, with only 7 per cent of children covered.


“Coordination mechanisms are weak, leading to fragmentation and inefficiency.


“Therefore, the summit aims to generate actionable insights and foster collaboration among key players to enhance coverage, coordination, and financing of social protection interventions,” she said.


Objectives of the Summit include: Raise Awareness: Highlight how social protection can mitigate poverty, enhance economic stability, and promote inclusive growth through social assistance (cash transfers), social security (health insurance), and labor market regulation).


It was also aimed at Improving Delivery and Coordination: Propose measures to improve delivery and coordination mechanisms for effective coverage and impact of social protection programs.


Also commitment to Financing: Elicit commitments from government bodies, international organizations, and private sector stakeholders on financing social protection initiatives through innovative financing mechanisms.


The Government of Nigeria, UNICEF, and partners reaffirmed their commitment to advancing social protection aligned with essential services for comprehensive support.


“The communique was signed to introduce Universal Child Benefit and increase public spending in social protection by 2 percent aiming to reduce multidimensional poverty and promote equitable development,”


The summit which was organised by the Federal Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Social Protection Development Partner Group (DPG), brought together key stakeholders from Federal and State Governments, development partners, and civil society.

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