From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
As part of measures to revive the National Social Protection policy which collapsed shortly after it took off, Federal Government, yesterday, called on states to assist in funding the project.
Making the call at the Joint Zonal Consultation on Review of National Social Protection Policy and institutionalising Social Protection for Accelerated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Implementation in Nigeria, in Enugu, the Permanent Secretary, Budget and National Planning and Chairperson, Technical Working Group (TWG) National Social Protection Policy, Mrs. Olusola Idowu, stated that the purpose of the zonal consultative meeting was to harvest inputs from the zones for the finalisation of the policy.
She, therefore, implored the participants to brainstorm and identify challenges peculiar to the region and make practical recommendations for the attainment of the overall objective of the policy.
The chairperson also said that in an effort to achieve the success of the Agenda 2030, the office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SSAP-SDGs) and United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning were using the meeting to sensitise the sub- nationals on the importance of funding for planned activities of Sustainable Development Goals by the state governments.
According to her, the inputs from all the various consultations and engagements would be incorporated into the draft policy before being presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the National Assembly for approval.
She recalled that the world commenced the Decade of Action in January 2020 for accelerated smart sustainable solution to secure greater leadership and more resources for the achievement of the SDGs but was affected by the outbreak of COVID- 19 Pandemic which hampered the prospects of achieving the SDGs in many countries, including Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Director of Social Development, Budget and National Planning, Mr. A.B. Sa’adu, reaffirmed the extensive process of reviewing the elapsed social protection policy. He assured stakeholders that “the review process has gone far with the production of a draft diagnostic report that has been validated by a multi-sectoral Technical Working Group inaugurated in August 2020 under the leadership of the Permanent Secretary.”
In a statement, Sa’adu also acknowledged the unflinching support of several UN agencies – UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, WFP, World Bank and Save the Children towards implementing the Joint Fund Programme to support social protection and aimed at accelerating Social Development Goals (SDGs).
Earlier, the World Food Programme, UN- WFP Country Director, La Paul Howe, represented by Mr. Akeem Ajibola, in his goodwill message, pledged WFP’s support for Nigeria, towards the achievement of SDGs by 2030.
He said that aside the support the WFP was providing in conflict affected populations like the North East Nigeria, it was also working with the federal and state governments to achieve SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) which interlinks with other 16 SDG goals.
Howe also maintained that WFP looked forward to a robust outcome from the workshop through articulation of shocks in South East and South South zones into the NSP of Nigeria.
The UNDP representative, the Economic Research Associate, Grace Arinze Ononwu, expressed her delight at the shared “common goal” of the stakeholders, saying that it would accelerate the implementation of Social Protection. This, she explained, would leave no one behind on the SDGs by 2030.
She added that the UNDP cherished the commitment of TWG in facilitating the review of the NSP putting vulnerable Nigerians at the forefront which underscored the vision of Mr. President in taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.