• Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Increase funding for social protection to reduce poverty,  EU tells FG

European Union-EU

The European Union (EU) has called on the federal and state governments to increase financing for social protection interventions, saying it is critical to reducing poverty across the country.

Massimo De Luca, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS,  made this call on Friday, during the 3rd edition of the Social Protection Cross-Learning Summit (SPECS) in Abuja.

According to De Luca, social protection plays a critical role in human capital development by providing safety nets that ensure access to essential services such as education, health, and nutrition, including contributing to economic stability, poverty reduction, and inclusive growth, laying a strong foundation for the overall development of the country.

Citing the World Bank’s report, which put Nigeria’s poor at 104 million or 46 per cent in 2023, he said, “Investing in social protection means investing in our collective future, fostering resilience, and ensuring that every individual has the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the society despite background, location or uncertainties.”

He described social protection as a fundamental pillar supporting the most vulnerable and poor households, providing not only a safety net but also a beacon of hope for poor and vulnerable individuals and communities.

He reiterated the commitment of the EU to collaborating with the Federal Government towards addressing issues around poverty in the country.

He said the EU is supporting Nigeria’s social protection sector to the tune of €46 million in its 2021 to 2027 programming, to support system strengthening and design of social safety nets programs. “Already we are finalising processes with UNICEF and GIZ to implement the project in the focal states,” he said.

De Luca said the intervention would support the strengthening of the social protection system, “which looks at interoperability of related database, and ensuring functional shock responsive social register, while supporting three states in the North East with safety nets programme that targets climate change affected communities.”

The Summit was organised by the Federal Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Social Protection Development Partner Group (DPG), with the theme: “Social Protection Towards Human Capital Development.”