Written by AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna
Kaduna Governor Nasir El Rufai launched a state social protection policy on Tuesday, lamenting that Nigeria has the highest number of poor people in the world.
However, he said his government would establish a Social Welfare Agency to ensure that all social welfare programs are conducted in an integrated, inclusive and sustainable manner that optimizes resource use and achieves high impact.
El Rufai said that the social register must be used in programs designed to help the poor, while Nigeria must give up the idea of giving slots to programs to help the rich and powerful.
According to El Rufai, “Nigeria is going through difficult times. We have the largest number of poor people of any country in the world. Yet, whenever the program is designed to help the poor and vulnerable, we resort to a slot mentality in which important people are allocated places instead of targeting those poor and vulnerable who deserve it. This is sad. We need to move away from the slot mentality and use our social register to offer targeted support to those who really need it.
“I appeal to all my colleagues, political elites, to give up this mentality and use the social register, so that programs that target the vulnerable actually go to the poor and vulnerable. When we think of the poor and vulnerable, we must all keep in mind that the well-being of each of us is linked to the well-being of all of us. “
Speaking about the Social Protection Agency, El Rufai said, “The agency will use an integrated social protection management information system, which will serve as a data repository to ensure that the poorest poor have priority in program planning and benefits.
“This will also ensure effective monitoring and assessment of the impact of the program on the target poor and vulnerable residents of the country,” he added.
The governor said that “Social protection policy will be supported by the Law on Social Protection.” To ensure that the government keeps its promises, a well-articulated implementation plan and work on results are also developed.
El-Rufai noted that the government is aware of the enormous costs of providing social protection coverage for the poor and vulnerable, but “will strive to guarantee minimum levels of social protection for every poor and vulnerable person.
“To this end, the Kaduna State Government welcomes the partnership with all key stakeholders, donor agencies, private individuals, NGOs and civil society organizations in the field of social protection.”
El Rufai recalled that his administration has been anchored in promoting equal opportunities since taking office in 2015.
According to the governor, the government “focused on expanding access to education and health care as a mainstay of human capital development.”
“In the first 12 years, this government made education in the country free and compulsory. We also passed the Child Welfare and Protection Act. “Our public health system offers free services for pregnant women and children under the age of five,” he added.
However, he praised the active support of Save The Children International through their Child Grants Development Program (CDGP) in strengthening social protection in Kaduna State.
In his remarks at the launch of the program, the CDGP national program manager, Mr. Kayode Ajumobi, said social protection is not only a powerful tool for tackling poverty, but is also widely recognized as an important political instrument for tackling economic, social and political exclusion and vulnerability.
He said the organization, Save the Children International, is excited and celebrates with Governor El-Rufai and all Kaduna residents a commendable occasion, saying the Politics is a clear demonstration of the government’s political will and unequivocal commitment to providing social protection to all its citizens, especially those the most vulnerable, the poor and the socially excluded.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to connect with this epochal event, which was made possible by the generous support of the Office for Foreign Alliance and Development (FCDO), formerly DFID, through a social protection program that strengthens the CDGP. The CDGP continued to provide technical support to the Social Protection Steering Committee and the Technical Working Group during the policy-making process.
“However, if the policy does not ensure adequate financial, technical and structural change, the type of change that the policy will bring will be very limited. Therefore, we are all really encouraged by the commitment of the state government of at least one percent of the total state revenue (IGR) for social protection, which begins in 2021, and the ongoing process of development and adoption of the state law on social protection.
“However, to crown this remarkable achievement, Save the Children, through the CDGP program, I would like to call on His Excellency and, indeed, the Government of Kaduna at all levels to go a step further: Establish a state social protection fund and the state agency for social protection as contained in the policy, ”Ayumobi said.