Federal Government to reduce poverty through social protection programmes

The Federal Government has promised to reduce the current rate of poverty in the country to the barest minimum.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, stated this while speaking at a Social Protection summit in Abuja

The Federal Government is currently articulating a reform agenda for the social protection sector as a means of ensuring inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

Driving this reform is the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASCO) under the office of the Vice President with the responsibility of coordinating all social safety net initiatives in the country.

The NASCO is leveraging existing experiences in the country as well as global best practices to improve the processes that will drive progressive change delivery.

Explaining the objective of the programme, the minister said it would assist to influence, design and implement social safety nets in the country for greater impact.

The forum, he said, was coming at a time the Federal Government was reforming social protection practices and policies in the country.

He said, “This occasion is significant considering the current economic direction of the government. The purpose of this workshop is to improve on what government is doing in the area of social protection.

“Government at all levels should take the issue of social protection seriously. At the ministry, we are at an advanced stage in developing a social protection policy for this country.”

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Dutse, said the government would continue to come up with policies and programmes to support the vulnerable people in the society.

He said there was the need for a harmonised approach to tackle the current level of poverty in the country, adding that the best policies should be adopted by managers of social safety net programmes.

The Country Director, Save the Children, Mr. Ben Foot, called for a practical solution to address the problem facing social safety nets.

He said, “We need greater commitment to tackle the poverty problem in Nigeria. Poverty is multi-dimensional and starting the social safety net programme is the first step in putting in place a social protection system in Nigeria.”

He said if the country could succeed with the social safety protection system, the government’s objective of reducing poverty and ensuring equitable distribution of wealth would be achieved.