Kaduna’s Social Protection Policy, Persons with Disabilities to benefit-Official



 

Kaduna State Government has announced plans to introduce a disability benefit programme, as part of its Social Protection Policy Implementation Plan, in order to complement other Social Protection initiatives being presently implemented in the State.

 

The plan was disclosed by Saude Amina Atoyebi, the State Focal Person on the Social Investment Programs during the press conference held as part of activities to launchthe State’s Protection Policy at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna at the weekend.

 

MrsAtoyebi who praised Governor Nasir El Rufai for this initiative, also said the State Executive Council had passed the Social Protection policy in August 2020 and was awaiting approval of the implementation policy.

 

‘’The main goal of the policy is to ensure that residents of Kaduna State, particularly vulnerable groups, are afforded a life of dignity through programmes which are implemented in a fair and transparent manner,’’ she added.

 

 

Atoyebi revealed that the State Steering Committee on Social Investments with the support of Social Protection experts from Save the Children International and UNICEF had earlier fine-tuned the protection policy, despite the numerous challenges occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The State Focal Person added that the final document had input from members of Civil society Organisations, beneficiaries and vulnerable groups, traditional institutions, representatives from key MDAs in the state and various stakeholders.

 

“This policy is not one of those policies that we sat down as Government officials and designed on our own, finalized and disseminated. This policy went through a robust engagement process which took a while andpeople were wondering why

 

Atoyebi explained that ‘’but we wanted to ensure that whatever we came up with, had thevoice of the people in it. We started by having key informant interviews with different relevant MDAs,to see where we were, where we were starting from, and then moved on to consultations across the three senatorial zones, ‘’ she said.

 

The State Focal Person on Social Investment Programme added that the process continued with a situational analysis event where theysatwith key stakeholders and also an open forum with high level stakeholders, such as the Governor Nasir El Rufai, commissioners, senior government officials, and representatives of the judiciary and legislature.

 

According to her, these stakeholders heard directly from the people what they want the document to encompass. Afterwards, further rigorous research was conducted, where members of the steering committee keyed in, and put the document together.

 

MrsAtoyebi further said that the goal of this policy is to create an inclusive, robust, realistic and well-coordinated Social Protection System that leaves no one below the minimum floor of economic and social well-being.

 

“The final document is guided by certain principles; there is the Principle of Equity and Resource Relocation, the principle of Universal Basic needs; that is everybody is entitled to eat, to have a roof over their heads, and clothing to wear, that is the basic necessities of life. It is also guided by the principle of citizenship, and thankfully everyone who is a resident in Kaduna is a citizen of the state.

 

“It is also guided by the Principle of Human Rights. social protection is not a favour done by government to citizens, it is their right. It is gotten from a public pool of funds. We need people to know that this policy is hinged on that,’’ she added.

 

According to the Focal Person, Social Investment Programmes, ‘’ the Kaduna State Social Protection Policy is also hinged on the principle of Social Control andinclusiveness which means we do not discriminate on anyone based on their faith, ethnicity, gender or any other basis.

 

‘’That means everyone is treated fairly. This promotes inclusiveness amongst the disadvantaged groups who are usually forgotten such as people living with disabilities and women due to some cultural factors in our society, she added.”

 

 

Fielding questions from journalists, a member of the Steering committee, Muhammad Kabir Adam said the committee had included in realistic ways of financially sustaining the policy in the implementation plan.

 

He said “ the plan has proposed that 1% of the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) be dedicated to servicing activities of the Social Protection Agency when established and the State Executive Council has committed to that, and it has been approved.’’

 

The Committee member added that ‘’the implementation plan has proposed that there should be a Social Protection Trust Fund that will pool resources from prominent and reputable sources, to be able to shoulder the activities of Social protection.

 

According to him, the plan‘’ also suggested that the State makes some few deductions from the sum that goes to contractors and we are also expecting contributions from Development Partners, International Organisations, Federal Government and other friends of the State. ‘’

 

‘’The agency will also initiate some Public Private Partnership (PPP) programmes and projects in the State, to pool funds that will drive the activities of the agency,’’ he added.

 

Similarly, Jessica Barthlomew, the Chairperson Kaduna State Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC)said that Kaduna State Government is doing its best to bridge the gap between CSOs, media and Government in terms of information sharing.

 

She also said that the Government is working hard to rid the Social Protection Program of corruption, specifically by giving the communities the opportunity to point out the most vulnerable in their midst . This, she said, would give the communities ownership of the intervention programmes.