The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has restated its commitment to the effective implementation of Social Protection Policy in Nigeria.
Ms Temi Esteri Fet’era, the Acting Chief, Social Policy, UNICEF Nigeria, made the commitment at the Validation Workshop on the Draft National Social Protection Policy on Monday in Abuja.
The workshop, which attracted Commissioners of Finance and Budget from the 36 states of the federation and FCT as well as other stakeholders was put together by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
According to Fet’era, UNICEF has being supporting the Social Protection Policy since the development of the policy in 2012 “when we were advocating for Nigeria to have this policy.
“This is because social protection has always been existing in Nigeria in some form, but it existed in a fragmented way, not well coordinated with a policy framework.
“Social protection is one of the core works of UNICEF in Nigeria. Things have changed and there is need to revalidate the policy to meet up with the current challenges and international best practice.
“Beyond the policy narration, is the implementation strategy on how we can go about this. Revalidation is a critical step in any policy development.
“One of the things we did beyond advocating for the policy framework in Nigeria was to support the capacity building of technical working group.
“However, this is the time for us to look, revised and assess. We need to be pragmatic and mindful of the new evidence on poverty.
“UNICEF as advocate of the rights of children will also encourage that everything we are doing, children’s needs need to be in focus.,’’ she said.
Fet’era, who is also the Co-Lead, International Development Partners Group on Social Protection, said that Nigeria was a signatory of the UN Convention on the rights of the child.
“You know, we have children facing all kinds of situations, like the IDPs in parts of the country, we have migrant children, some may not be Nigerian citizens, but live in Nigeria.
“Some are victims of forced migration or refugees; we need to ensure that all their views and needs are factored into the policy,’’ Fet’era said.
Speaking, Mr Clem Agba, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, said the purpose of the gathering was for the stakeholders to validate the drafted revised National Social Protection Policy.
According to him, it emerged from the concerted efforts of all relevant stakeholders.
Agba, however, encouraged all stakeholders to make meaningful contributions towards the actualisation of the objectives of the validation exercise in order to strengthen the special protection programmes in the country.
The minister stressed that government was determined to spend more on social protection, not only to reduce poverty but to stimulate growth and enhance empowerment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the policy to be validated contain five chapters.
While chapter one deals with Introduction and Guidelines on Social Protection, Chapter two looked at the overview.
Chapter three looked at the review of some of the social policy practices in Nigeria, chapter four talked about the prioritisation of the policy in terms of strategies, objectives, short, medium and long term activities to achieve the objectives on the four pillars.
Chapter five looked at the arrangement of the Social Protection Policy.
NAN also reports that the event attracted officials from Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, among others.