NGOs urge CSOs, media to track social protection spendings

Save the Children International (SCI) and Action Against Hunger (ACF) have urged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media to track social protection spendings in Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa and Zamfara.

The NGOs made the call in Kano on Monday, at the opening of a three-day Budget and Expenditure Tracking Workshop for Social Protection, CSOs and the Media from the four states.

The workshop was organised by the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO)-funded Child Development Grant Programme (CDGP), being implemented by SCI and ACF in the four focal states.

Ms Stella Esendunme, Project Manager and State Team Leader of Kano state and Jigawa, explained that the measure was to strengthen capacity to demand accountability from state actors.

She said that Kaduna, Jigawa and Zamfara had developed and approved the social protection policy, while that of Kano state was awaiting approval.

She noted that funds had been allocated for the implementation of social protection programmes in the four states, stressing that tracking government spending would ensure accountability and judicious use of the resources.

“The federal government for example has committed to scale up investment in safety nets and social investment to N87 billion.

“Similarly, Kaduna State government has allocated one per cent of its Internally Generated Revenue in its 2021 budget for the implementation of social protection programmes.

“The other states have also committed reasonable resources for the implementation of social protection programmes, as such, we need to track these spending to ensure that allocated funds are being released and utilised accordingly,” she said.

The Project Manager explained that the CDGP programme was supporting the federal and state governments to strengthen policy and legislation and support the design and delivery of social protection programmes.

She stated that the programme was also working with CSOs and the media to raise awareness, stimulate political will and promote accountability at the State and federal levels.

“We are working to ensure that more vulnerable individuals and households are covered by sustainable, inclusive and accountable social protection intervention through increased domestic investment on social protection.

“We will achieve this through an improved enabling environment for social protection strengthening policies, legislation and institutions at State and federal level.

“The CDGP is also strengthening evidence-based design and delivery of government-led social inclusion programmes and supporting increased political will, public awareness and accountability for social protection,” she said.

She identified some of the challenges affecting implantation of social protection programmes as low financing, limited coverage, poor engagement of beneficiaries, political patronage, social inclusion and poor understanding of social protection.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the participants were made up of CSOs and media members of the various social protection platforms in the four states.

NAN reports that social protection, as defined by the UN is concerned with preventing, managing, and overcoming situations that adversely affect people’s well-being.

It consists of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labour markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to manage economic and social risks. (NAN)