Social protection policy will address poverty, promote inclusiveness in Gombe – Official

Dr Ishiyaku Mohammed, the Special Adviser to the Gombe State Governor on Budget Planning and Development Partner Coordination, has said that the proper implementation of Social Protection Policy would address poverty, enhance inclusiveness, cohesion, among other things in the state.

Mohammed, Represented by Ibrahim Ali, the Permanent Secretary, Budget Planning and Development Partners Coordination Office, said this at the opening of a five-day Workshop on the Development of Implementation Plan and Costing of Gombe State Social Protection Policy, on Monday in Jos.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state has recently developed its social protection policy document.The governor’s aide added that the implementation of policy would improve social services, infrastructure, social welfare and a host of other good things. “

This policy if properly implemented will address poverty, prepare the poor and vulnerable people against economic shocks, enhance human capital development, promote social cohesion, inclusiveness, equity and growth.“Also, the policy will enable easy access to social services and infrastructure by the people, provide welfare and improve food security and nutrition, ensure decent employment and sustainable livelihood, among others,” he said.He said that the meeting, aimed at developing an implementation strategy and costing for the policy document, was organised in collaboration with the Bauchi Field Office of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

He added that the workshop would enable key stakeholders to brainstorm on how best the policy would be implemented and financed.“We are here as key stakeholders to plan on how best we will implement the social protection policy recently developed for Gombe state.“However, the policy does not include a cost implementation action plan as well as a  Monitoring, Evaluation,  Accountability and Learning (MEAL) plan.“This has put good and well-intended policy as at risk of non-implementation, hence this  workshop is to forestall the unacceptable.“This policy is key to the growth and development of the state, because it will address a lot of issues.“Some of these issues are education, health, food security, water and sanitation, nutrition, poverty, inequality, among others,” he said.

He further said that the meeting is aimed at strategising on ways the policy would be financed and implemented viv-a-vis the available resources in the states.“Some of the specific objectives of the workshop is to build the capacity of participants on MEAL, develop MEAL for the state social protection system, develop a cost, funding, finance, and resource mobilization plan, which indicates how much it will cost to implement the plan.“To identify possible sources of fund, how to mobilise the fund and how to finance the plan in the most transparent manner,” he said.

He commended UNICEF and other partners for supporting the state towards having a policy document that would lead to its growth and development.Also speaking at the event, Mr Yusuf Auta, Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, said that the policy is coming at the “right time”.He said the policy, if implemented, would promote the well-being of children and women in the state.“UNICEF is happy to be part of this process and this is because it affects the lives of women and children.“UNICEF pays attention to women and children because it is the credo of development.“With proper education, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, poverty reduction, among others, the child is at home.“Social protection policy provides the platform for UNICEF to support women and children have a better life.“So, we are here to come up with an implementation plan which will be in accordance with the budget provision of the state,” he said.

He promised that UNICEF would continue to support the state with technical assistance in order to address some of the issues which the policy seeks to achieve.NAN reports that the meeting had participants from government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), traditional institutions, development partners, the media, among others. (NAN)