FG invests billions in social protection to fight poverty-Ngige – The Sun Nigeria

By Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

The federal government says it has invested billions in social welfare to fight poverty in Nigeria.

Labor and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige described the money being spent as a triple vaccination against poverty.

Ngige said so in Abuja on Thursday during a media briefing on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labor 2022, themed “Universal social protection to end child labour”.

The minister, who linked the scourge of child labor to poverty, assured that the federal government was vigorously implementing its many social protection programs to improve the lives of parents and children.

According to him, “everything is being done to support social welfare programs despite the decline in federal government revenues”.

Noting that poverty fuels child labour, especially in developing countries, he expressed optimism that this scourge can be eliminated through the establishment of social protection floors and programmes.

He said the Federal Department of Labor and Employment and other members of the National Steering Committee for the Elimination of Child Labor were using this year’s event to call for increased investment in labor programs and schemes. social protection to build strong social protection floors and protect children from work.

He explained that social protection programs are key to addressing poverty and vulnerability identified as causes of child labour.

He said: “Children who engage in it are at serious risk. The Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment, in collaboration with the ILO and other stakeholders, has worked diligently and collaboratively to ensure the elimination of child labor in accordance with SDG 8.7 and the protection of young workers of legal working age. and work in safe conditions.

“The government is vigorously implementing the National Children’s School Feeding Program (NCSFP), which is the main element of the federal government’s battle to combat child labor, increasing children’s schooling and preventing them from dropping out of school”.

He said children were fed protein and nutritious foods to ensure good health and keep them in school, while providing jobs for their parents as farmers, traders and cooks.

Ngige said the government is also investing billions of naira in Universal Basic Education (UBE), which allows children to attend primary and secondary school free of charge, in a bid to prevent them from working.

He said poverty was also being addressed through the conditional cash transfer program, Trader moni and N-power program, diversification of the economy towards agriculture through the youth employment program in Agriculture (YEAP) and the Vocational and Technical Education Program (TVET).

He said the government was trying to maintain all these programs despite the drop in income.

“The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) shows that in 2023, if we continue as business as usual, with no oil leaks blocked, refineries functioning and oil subsidies removed, we will have no capital budget allocation. The economy will be prostrate. It is the capital projects aspect of the economy that puts money into production. Every recurring money is for consumption. It does not create jobs. Our incomes before and today are not the same. It calls for concern. »

He described the current upheavals in the country, including the Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and the threat of unknown gunmen, as a rebellion of the have-nots against the big men and of the illiterate against the educated.

He called on developed countries and big business in Nigeria to support the fight against child labor in Nigeria by investing in social protection.

He lamented that more than 2 trillion naira out of the 3.7 billion naira payroll is spent on paying salaries for workers in the health and education sectors alone.

He said it was for this reason that the federal government had insisted that every civil servant register with IPPIS, but the University Academic Staff Union was against it.

In a welcome speech, the Director of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Vanessa Phala, described the situation in our hands as very serious.

Phala said recent research by the ILO in partnership with UNICEF on the role of “social protection in eliminating child labour, found that 1.5 billion children around the world, aged 0 to 14 years old, receive no child or family allowance, while more than 160 million children – 1 in 10 children aged 5 to 17 were still engaged in child labor and progress has stalled since 2016.

Joel C. Hicks