Lagos (ILO News): The Social Protection Sector Review is an agreement between the Nigerian Ministry of National Budget and Planning (MNBP), Save the Children International, ILO, and UNICEF. To support its implementation, a workshop was help to design and review the data collection tools to perform a Social protection Sector Review in Nigeria. Government and non-government stakeholders participated in a two-day workshop held from the 26th to 27th August 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria. The workshop began with a formulation of a comprehensive set of questions (about 400) using the Core Diagnostic Instrument, also known at CODI which would be used to assess social protection policies, programmes and the system as a whole and adapted to country context.
Participants of the workshop were educated by the workshop facilitators on the differences in the terms social protection, social security, social safety nets and the benefits of investing in social protection, including economic growth and growing democratic support. In addition, participants engaged themselves in a lively debate on the different aspects of social protection and the objectives for the review. From the meeting, it was disappointing to learn the percentage of GDP spent on social protection in Nigeria (around 2%) was considerably low compared to some other countries. This opened the floor for intense discussions on financing mechanisms, and the conclusion that a broader focus should be placed on programmes and policies such that in addition to a general mapping, a more in-depth assessment could be carried out in the review. According to the Director of Social Security/Cooperative Development, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FMLE), Dr. Dorcas Ebun Ayiboye, extension to the informal economy was one of the priorities in increasing Social Protection Coverage in Nigeria.
On the second day of the meeting, the participants reviewed the CODI questions and determined the most relevant ones. Outcomes of the exercise showed that the group would prioritize objectives and coverage and inclusion matters of policies. Also highlighted were the political support of the government in social protection policies, regulation of the policy on each level of government, financing, expenditures. Where it concerned programmes, participants placed additional value on or programme shock responsiveness, the existence of a program operational manual, adequacy of the program, M&E and exit procedures. Stakeholders further agreed that States for the sector review will be selected on the basis of population size, poverty level and policy existence. Programmes will then be selected on the basis of coverage, expenditure and categories (social assistance, insurance and labour market interventions).
At the end the meeting, the participants, represented by the National Coordinator of the Nigerian Network of Women Exporters of Services (NNWES), Mrs Nkiru Joy Okpala, expressed their satisfaction with the meeting while at the same time acknowledging and appreciating the stakeholders’ support in their efforts to transform Nigeria, and extend social protection coverage. Also giving her feedback response, the Assistant Director of Social Development, Ministry of Budget and National Planing (MBNP), Mrs. Grace Obi-Ukpabi, was pleased with the commitment shown by the Technical Working Group on Social Protection.
The National Coordinator of the National Social Safety Nets Coordination Office (NASSCO), Mr. Apera Iorwa in his comments expressed that the outcomes of the review would inform different ministries and partners in their future planning efforts so as to continue to have an improved Social Protection system in Nigeria. “The government feels it’s important to know the overview of Social Protection initiatives. It is good to follow the money, explore the issues, gains, successful models and best practices and see how we can use these examples to work towards a national Social Protection framework to collectively lift people out of poverty” he said.
The workshop drew participants from the Federal Ministry of Health, Education, Labour and Employment, Budget and National planning, Women Affairs, the Womens’ enterprise network and the National Social Investment Office under the Vice President. The Social Protection review is expected to be finalized by the end of 2019 and would lead to the mapping for all l states using a short policy and programme questionnaire in part 1 and a review in 12 selected states using the adapted CODI.