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UNICEF hinges SDGs vision 2030 on National Social Protection Policy

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Tasks FG, CSOs on NSPP ratification
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has assured that the speedy ratification of the National Social Protection Policy (NSPP) would be a catalyst for the actualisation of Nigeria’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Ondo State UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Tejinder Sandhu said this at the three-day Interstate Social Protection (SP) Study Tour it organised with the state Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, which ended in Akure yesterday.

He said: “Social Protection is a mix of policies and programmes designed for individuals and households to reduce poverty and socio-economic shocks by promoting and enhancing livelihoods and quality life.”

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The organisation had invited 15 states of the federation and eight UNICEF Field Offices in Akure for knowledge sharing and transfer of the Ondo State social protection initiatives such as free school bus shuttle, micro credit schemes and family court.

The technical teams included top government officials, secretaries to state governments, commissioners, directors and permanent secretaries discussing social protection.

Sandhu noted that the NSPP draft, which is yet to be ratified by the Federal Government since 2011, would have positive implications and facilitate the realisation of the 2030 visions of the SDGs.

Citing the Policy Measure 1 of the NSPP, among other 15 policy measures aimed at improving the lot of Nigerians, he said free school meals would be provided to all pupils in public primary schools across the country

He also listed the multi-dimensional impacts of SP to include poverty reduction, human capital, livelihoods, risk management, economic growth, economic resilience and social cohesion.

Lack of NSPP in the country, he said, might scuttle the 17 goals of the programme, which are intertwined with the 16 policy measures of the former, emphasising that everybody needs some kind of social protection.

This and other factors, according to UNICEF, led to Nigeria’s failure to realise its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.However, the UNICEF Chief noted that Ondo and Osun states were recording commendable successes in the provision of social protection initiatives for their people.

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Meanwhile, the Deputy Director, Social Development Department of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Samson Ebimaro pointed out that Nigeria recorded strong growth in the last decade.

Ebimaro pegged the growth with real GDP rate averaging 5.91 per cent from 2005 to 2014, lamenting that the growth did not reflect in the reduction of poverty. He noted that the increasing poverty rate in the country justified the urgent need for social protection, identifying bureaucracy and lack of political will as the pitfalls against the ratification of NSPP in Nigeria.

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), who praised UNICEF for its commitment to NSPP advocacy, stressed that social protection in any nation was important to combat poverty, vulnerability and exclusion.


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