FG urges social security schemes harmonisation to boost development
It is only when all agencies of government that are charged with the responsibility of implementing social security initiatives collaborate that the war against poverty can be won.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made the call in Abuja, at the workshop on, “Promoting Synergy Among Formal Social Security Schemes and Programmes Through Improved Social Security Data Integrity,” organised for the stakeholders.
He said Government would put in place platforms for experts from all the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the social security schemes to work together to achieve optimum result in improving data integrity.
He said: “It is imperative that all central machinery be put in motion for the effective collaboration of MDAs implementing social security schemes to ensure proficient services.”
Noting the global consensus on the importance of social security data for national socio-economic development, Ngige emphasised the importance of developing a comprehensive data for not only addressing gaps in social security schemes, but also for enhancing effective policy articulation by the government.
The Minister noted that in view of Nigeria’s large population, a comprehensive data in social security would work to improve workers’ productivity, bridge income inequality, enhance social cohesion, and engender national integration, as well as aid inclusive economic growth.
He said achieving the maximum gain of social security in Nigeria would entail adequate planning and data collection/collation to establish a dependable database for all categories of beneficiaries and the various types of social security schemes provided.
Citing the definition by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Minister said: “Social Security is a set of public policies and programmes undertaken by the society through series of public measures in response to certain contingencies, to offset the absence or substantial reduction in income resulting from sickness, maternity, employment injury, unemployment, invalidity and old age.”
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo, explained that the workshop was a call for strengthening and moving forward the social security focus in Nigeria, and an effort to achieve inclusive growth.
He added that eliminating extreme poverty and putting in place social protection would contribute immensely to the realisation of a number of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Alo disclosed that the workshop, themed, “One Stop-Shop Information Centre for Social Security in Nigeria,” seeks to review the evidence of a positive social security influence, aimed to analyse the relevance and implications of new improved technologies in data collection for national social security schemes.
Present at the workshop were the President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, and representatives of relevant organisations such as the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).