Monday, June 5, 2017 7:43 pm
There is the need for Federal Government and the country’s Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to ratify the National Social Protection Policy (NSPP), a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) official says.
UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office in Akure, Mr Tejinder Sandhu, said this on Monday at the opening of a three-day Inter-State Social Protection Study Tour.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tour was organised in collaboration with the Ondo State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget.
UNICEF had gathered officials from 15 states of the federation and eight of its field offices in Akure for knowledge-sharing and transfer.
They were to focus on Ondo State social protection initiatives like free school bus shuttle, micro credit schemes and family court.
Sandhu said the draft of the NSPP, which was yet to be ratified by the Federal Government since 2011, would bear positive implications.
He added that it would also expedite the realisation of the 2030 visions and goals of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Free school meals will be provided to all pupils in public primary schools,” he quoted a portion of the Policy Measure 1 of NSPP, among other 15 policy measures geared towards the betterment of the people.
Sandhu said the lack of NSPP in the country might affect the 17 SDG goals, which were intertwined with the 16 policy measures of the former, as “everybody needs social protection’’.
The UNICEF official added that this and other factors had led to Nigeria’s failure to realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
He noted that Ondo and Osun states were making considerable efforts and achieving landmark successes in the provision of social protection initiatives for their citizenry.
Sandhu urged other state governments in the country to emulate the laudable programmes in Ondo and Osun states.
Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, who praised UNICEF for its commitment on NSPP advocacy, said social protection in any nation was so important in combating poverty, vulnerability and exclusion.
“It is designed to enhance the capabilities of the people and to stimulate them for socio-economic development,’’ he said.
The governor said he and several others benefitted from the social protection programmes of past governments.
He added that if the NSPP was passed into law, it would cater for the country’s people, as well as help to promote and enhance sustainable livelihood and right to dignity.
“It provides a social guarantee for accessing social services.”
Akeredolu assured that his administration would continue to build on the social inclusion and integrated rural development programmes of his predecessors, from the late Michael Ajasin to Olusegun Mimiko.
The governor lauded Mimiko for implementing sound programmes, especially on health and education, assuring that his administration would leverage on the knowledge transfer and experience of the technical work group.