Concerns around Nigeria’s negative development indicators persist amid calls for greater effort to promote social benefits. Limited funding, poor coordination and lack of social safety net platforms are some of the issues hampering social protection programme delivery as reported in this quarter. For example, the lack of effective targeting has resulted in inclusion and exclusion errors in the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) programme delivery. At a macro-economic level, there are increasing concerns around Nigeria’s rising debt profile. This may have a negative impact on pro-poor measures as additionally, social protection spending has remained relatively low compared to other countries.
Nigeria is getting notable recognition nonetheless. Nigeria and 20 other countries have been adjudged as outstanding in implementing homegrown school feeding programmes. Nigeria’s programme which feeds 9 million children daily is ranked the largest on the continent. Overall, there is a growing interest and investment into school feeding programmes across Africa with 39 countries rolling out these programmes so far. Nigeria.
Lagos State Government implemented the State Operations Cooperating Unit (SOCU) which will oversee the deployment of social safety nets in the state. Notably, the office will establish a state social register for inclusion into the national register. Lagos joins 26 states whose efforts have led to the mapping of 665,655 poor and vulnerable households. Anambra State Government is taking statistical data of daycare centres and other places that have custody of infants to tackle child trafficking (ref.#2).
Notable funding announcements targeted individuals as well as social enterprises. Katsina State Government’s N196 million commitment to the Women Empowerment Programme across its 34 local governments for the 2019 fiscal year will provide N5,000 as start-up capital to female businesses. Social entrepreneurs, community-based organisations and NGOs in Nigeria and other African countries can access a grant of up US$50,000 to implement an idea to address the problems of tenure and property security in African cities. The grant is being administered by Cities Alliance, which is focused on helping cities deliver sustainable development in partnership with the United Nations Office for Projects Services (UNOPS).
According to ILO, about 71 per cent of the world’s population lack comprehensive social security coverage. In Nigeria, some strides towards the realization of universal health insurance have been taken in Oyo State where 450,000 residents will benefit from the state’s health insurance scheme. Provisions have been made for barter trade where farmers can part with the farm produce equivalent to the cost of an insurance package.
In Edo State, 54,000 women will benefit in the Nigeria for Women Project (NWP). The programme seeks to transform female socio-economic livelihoods through building women’s social capital by promoting membership in and strengthening women Affinity Groups as well as providing skills training and grants support. The pilot will also be
implemented in Ogun, Niger, Taraba, Abia, and Kebbi states.
The sector is gaining traction at a policy level. In Zamfara State, the draft policy for social protection programme has been prepared for submission to the State House Assembly to institutionalize social protection. This will also enhance the sustainability of the Child Development Grant Programmes (CDGP) which is implemented with support from Save the Children International (SCI). Lagos State has implemented and domesticated the Pension Reform Act which will prioritize the welfare of pensioners in the state. At the national level, there were renewed calls to adopt the 2003 Child Rights Bill following the release of a UNICEF report that indicates child abuse costs Nigeria US$6 billion annually.