It is only when all agencies of government are tasked with the responsibility of implementing social security initiatives that the war against poverty can be won.
Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, made the call 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, he emphasized 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 mentioned that 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.”
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 further explained 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).
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).