ASCSN urges govt curb corruption via social security numbers for citizens
• African Union, ILO move to strengthen social justice, decent work
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has urged the Federal Government to create social security numbers for every Nigerian to curb corruption associated with the disbursement of social interventions.
The National President of ASCSN, Dr Tommy Okon, who disclosed this in an interaction with The Guardian in Abuja, explained that disbursement of social assistance is grossly abused due to the absence of social security numbers.
His words: “When I listen to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, I laugh. The ministry claims to be feeding school children that were on holiday during COVID-19 lockdown with billions of Naira. To erode corruption in the distribution of social interventions, there is an urgent need for Nigeria to adopt a social security number for all its citizens. Working in tandem with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the custodian of the National Identity Number (NIN), there will be that confidence that every individual in Nigeria will have a social security number that is verifiable.”
Okon also urged the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to come up with a social security policy, where every individual would have a social security number, which would at every point in time, indicate the social status of every Nigerian.
He added: “Any time such a number is pressed, it will show the job history of a particular person. It will operate like the BVN, no matter how many accounts an individual has. The moment the BVN number is activated, it shows all the account numbers an individual has. So, why are we making a caricature of policies? For the government to design an implementable policy, the targeted parties must be involved from the formation stage. But this is not the case in Nigeria. Ministries just come up with all manners of policies without considering the peculiarities of those that the policies will impact upon.”
He argued that distributing money to the people on the streets is a stopgap and never a means of spreading prosperity or tackling endemic poverty.
“Since when has the distribution of money to people on the streets become a means of alleviating poverty in any part of the world? Yes, it can be an emergency just as we saw in some countries during the pandemic. It was to solve an immediate problem of ensuring people can buy food and survive but never a means of reducing poverty.”
Okon, who is a policy expert, said for most policies to work, the local government system must be made functional.
Meanwhile, the African Union Commission (AUC) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) have reaffirmed their cooperation and partnership by signing an agreement that is aimed at improving work and employment in Africa.
The new partnership agreement between the AU and the ILO was signed in a virtual ceremony on 4th of February 2022 on the margins of the 40th Ordinary Session of the African Union Executive Council, in Addis Ababa, by Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, the ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa, and the African Union Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, Minata Cessouma Samate.
The Agreement reflects a mutual commitment for closer collaboration between the two organisations for the realisation of social justice, through the promotion of decent work; encompassing international labour standards, labour migration governance for development and integration, inclusive economic growth, skills development, employment, industrial relations, social protection and social dialogue.
It aims to intensify collaboration between AU and ILO, on a non-exclusive basis in areas of common interest and to establish the arrangements necessary for the implementation of agreed areas of collaboration.