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Stakeholders begin review of social protection policy

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• UNICEF wants payments to households digitalised
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, yesterday, disclosed that stakeholders had commenced review of the National Social Protection Policy.

According to him, the stakeholders have set up an inter-ministerial technical working committee to produce a revised policy that will run from 2021-2025 before the end of 2020.

Agba further disclosed that the ministry was in the process of mainstreaming social protection into the ongoing Medium Term National Development Plans (2021-2025) and a long term perspective plan which is Nigeria Vision 2050.
The minister, who spoke in Abuja at a breakfast dialogue on the social protection policy organized by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, in collaboration with the United Nations agencies, said the current policy would lapse in December 2020.

At the event, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) urged the Federal Government to digitalise payments to needy households and individuals, to ensure a holistic coverage and block leakages.

UNICEF Deputy Representative, Rushnan Murtaza, said: “The world is increasingly speaking a digital language, and COVID-19 has shown us the importance of digital platform. Digitalization provides options for low-income families to be financially included and the National Cash Transfer programme has the potential to make it a reality and drive the financial inclusion agenda of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“It allows to reduce the logistical burden on families, reduce cost of operation, financial errors, leakages, fraud and corruption, and increases transparency, something we all want to see.

“We all recognize that there are limitations due to infrastructures and access, but different digital payment options can be explored – like bank accounts, wallets, and agent pay points to mention some,” Murtaza said.

On the agenda on children, he advised that the social protection should ensure that every child lives in a household with sufficient financial resources to develop the potential and has access to quality basic services and the knowledge needed for development, regardless of income or personal characteristics.

“Social protection is the right of every child, and it is the foundation of a country’s social contract to provide every child with coverage and give every child an equal chance”

Martaza reiterated UNICEF’s firm commitment to providing continued support in the areas of social protection towards achieving the SDGs in 2030 and making social protection a reality for millions of Nigerians.


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