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February 24, 2024
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Group photograph after the courtesy visit

Forum seeks partnership with FG on coordination, implementation of Social Protection Policy

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By Ahmed Ubandoma

The National Social Protection Forum (NSPF), has sought the partnership of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, on the coordination and implementation of the revised National Social Protection Policy.

Its National Coordinator, Dr Taiwo Benson, sought for the partnership when he led a delegation to the Minister, Dr Betta Edu, in her office, in Abuja on Wednesday.

Benson said that the partnership became necessary to ensure effective coordination and implementation of the policy and deepen stakeholders’ understanding of the benefits of investing in social protection.

He explained that the design and implementation of social protection systems require coordination among different organisations and stakeholders involved.

He noted that currently, social protection programmes were being designed and implemented in silos, with little linkages among implementing agencies and partners.

This, according to him, has prevented policy coherence, thereby, limiting efficiency in the delivery of poverty reduction interventions.

He recalled that the previous administration had organised a Social Protection Cross-Learning Summit (SPECS) in 2016 and 2019 with technical support from development partners to create awareness on the policy.

He stressed the need for the ministry to institutionalise the summit as an annual event for learning and sharing of ideas on social protection and its impact in addressing multidimensional poverty.

“Therefore, as the minister in charge of coordinating poverty alleviation in Nigeria, we appeal that you utilise SPECS as a platform to mobilise stakeholders in strengthening social protection systems,” he said.

Benson said that the forum has undertaken a series of advocacies to institutionalise social protection in many states across the federation.

He explained that part of the advocacies was a national dialogue on poverty situation in Nigeria organised in collaboration with development partners.

He added that the forum also carried out media advocacies on the use of National Social Register and involvement of third-party monitors in the implementation of social protection interventions.

“This is in addition to the use of the Social Protection to End Poverty campaign with support from Save the Children International.

“The strength of our coalition is in community mobilisation and we are open to partnership with your ministry and other stakeholders towards eradicating multi-dimensional poverty in Nigeria,” he said.

The coordinator commended the federal government for approving the revised National Social Protection Policy.

He also lauded the federal government for signing the National Social Investment Programme Agency Act and for implementing a conditional cash transfer scheme targeting 15 million poor and vulnerable households.

“We equally commended the government for the establishment of the Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Trust Fund, aimed at lifting millions of poor and vulnerable Nigerians out of multi-dimensional poverty,” he added.

He urged the minister to consider the forum as a partner in the advancement of President Bola Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda through addressing poverty and vulnerability using social protection.

Also speaking, Dr Hamidu Poufon, the Chief Social Policy Manager, UNICEF, stressed the need for harmonization of humanitarian interventions and social protection policy considering that they serve the same purpose.

This, according to Poufon, will ensure effective coordination and implementation.

“Basically, social protection and humanitarian assistance are moving in the direction of complementing one another and that is one of the things we are doing within the policy space.

“There is already a move towards integrating humanitarian assistance and social protection leveraging on both systems complementary roles.

“This is because, we see social protection as a system, and we see the humanitarian sector also as a system, but not separate from each other,” he said.

Responding, Edu, who was represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mrs Oyekunle Patience, said that the issue of poverty alleviation has remained a top priority in the ministry.

Edu expressed the ministry’s determination to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to develop effective mechanisms in tackling poverty across the country.

She expressed optimism that the engagement would provide opportunities for future interactions towards effective utilisation of social protection in addressing poverty in the country. (NAN)

Edited by Philip Yatai

Philip Daniel Yatai

Principal Correspondent, NAN Abuja
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