The Federal Government of Nigeria has partnered with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to extend social safety nets to a larger population within the country. This collaborative effort, spearheaded by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Barr. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, aims to broaden the scope and effectiveness of social protection programs, potentially transforming the lives of numerous Nigerians.
According to a statement released by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Olajide Oshundun, Minister Onyejeocha highlighted the key objectives of the partnership. These include expanding health insurance coverage, particularly to vulnerable demographics, and addressing prevalent issues such as poverty, health challenges, especially within the informal economy, and unemployment.
During discussions with the ILO delegation, Minister Onyejeocha reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring social protection for all citizens. Emphasizing the pivotal role of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in alleviating poverty and facilitating employment, she pledged to expedite the implementation of crucial programs like social security.
Mrs. Ngozi Anukwu, the Deputy Director of the Social Security Department, underscored the department’s steadfast dedication to its mandate despite encountered challenges. She discussed ongoing efforts, including deliberations on Convention 102, aimed at enhancing social security services in Nigeria.
The ILO delegation, led by Regional Social Protection Specialist, Dramane Batchabi, stressed the urgent need to expand social protection coverage across Nigeria. Batchabi highlighted the stark reality that only 17% of the population currently benefits from such programs, citing challenges such as the predominance of the informal economy and funding constraints.
Acknowledging the complexities of Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape, Batchabi urged swift action to address these disparities, particularly in light of Convention 102’s objectives. He emphasized the necessity of collaborative efforts between the government and international organizations like the ILO to bolster social protection mechanisms and ensure a more inclusive society.
The partnership between the Federal Government and the ILO signifies a significant step towards enhancing social safety nets in Nigeria, underscoring a shared commitment to advancing socio-economic well-being and promoting inclusive growth.