The Honourable Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has reiterated Federal government’s commitment towards providing social safety nets for all Nigerians.
The Minister made this known in Abuja at the occasion of the launch of the Africa Social Safety Nets Report by the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO) and World Bank recently.
In her keynote address at the event, Mrs. Zainab stated that with the launch of the social safety nets, Africa report will arm the country with new knowledge and tools, to identify new opportunities, as well as significantly adopt all that is necessary to sustain quality service delivery, while also stating in her preview report that a lot of interventions are going on in Africa which includes - social registry currently now used in 23 countries and also being developed in 13 countries, strengthening coordination among programmes and investing in shared systems to reduce the duplication of efforts and cost inefficiencies, a shift towards greater use of cash in social safety nets and also an increasing number of programme putting emphasis on building the productive capacity and resilience of beneficiary households.
She further noted in her report that, there is an increased focus on promoting human capital development alongside growth in social safety nets in urban areas, adding that the report highlighted the fact that social safety nets are widely used as a short-term response 00to shocks.
The present administration had established the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) in 2016, to tackle poverty and hunger across the country.
This represents a paradigm shift from past approaches, with a cluster of programmes aimed at ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable populations, including children, youth and women, and adopts the life cycle approach that ensures no age bracket is excluded. With this, the federal government’s budget for the social sector including health, education, youths and sports took a quantum leap from N814 million in 2015 to N1.24 trillion in 2019, this is in addition to the Federal Government special intervention programmes of N350 billion.
The minister stated that in line with the Economic Recovery And Growth Plan (ERGP), the National Social Protection Policy (NSPP) and the National Social Investment Programme are all initiated by this Government to give life of dignity to all Nigerians especially the poor, stating clearly that without the human capital, all other investments and all capital are at risk of failure and that the government is very much aware of this.
Mrs. Zainab reiterated that social investments is a cardinal feature of Government as it seeks to strengthen coordination with sub-national government and guarantee cohesion between the governed and the government, while throwing more light in the report that West Africa has the largest number of cash transfer programmes in Africa. This implies that we must find a long-time solution to poverty as cash transfers cannot be sustained; it therefore means that we must have a long-time plan to build human plan and resilience of our people.
“The midterm focus will be to have in place a universal health coverage for all, scale up our school lunch programme for all primary school pupils and provide scholarship for all students in tertiary education” she added.
Director Information, MBNP
September 20, 2019