Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC), an NGO, has appealed to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Kaduna to improve the outcomes and performance for Social Protection (SP) through budgetry allocations.
KADSPAC, a coalition of civil society and media, works in strengthening transparency and accountability in the delivery of inclusive SP.
The News Agency of Nigeria NAN, reports that the Kaduna Government had in 2021, launched the SP policy to address the vulnerability of the poorest residents by mitigating their social and economic shocks.
The Chairperson of KADSPAC, Jessica Bartholomew, made the appeal at a one-day event on dissemination of budget performance for 2021/2022 through the Open Government Partnership (OGP), on Thursday in Kaduna.
The theme of the event was ‘Expanding investments in the SP sector to address multidimensional poverty among residents of Kaduna state’.
She said a systematic approach to the delivery of SP intervention were social assistance, social insurance, labour market intervention, social care and legislation, regulations, and institutional framework.
She explained that if the MDAs improve on their budgetry allocations on SP, it would accelerate steps towards fulfilling government commitment to give the poor and vulnerable in the state a life of dignity.
Bartholomew said lack of MDAs improvement on their budgetry allocations for SP constituted serious challenges in achieving the dream of supporting the poor and vulnerable to live productive, fulfilling, and dignifying lives.
She appealed to the MDAs to oblige and timely release requested information, to aid tracking of funds meant for SP.
Mr.Yusuf Goje, KADSPAC’s Assistant Secretary, said in line with their mandate of championing transparency and accountability in the delivery of SP interventions, they embarked on budget tracking activities across the relevant MDAs in Kaduna state.
He explained that the budget tracking was to identify blockage and gaps in the financing of SP interventions and engage in advocacy activities to strengthen it.
Goje said the population of Kaduna State which was about 10 million, where 49.9 per cent lived below 1.9 dollar per day and 44.3 per cent of unemployment rate was disturbing.
He further said 43 per cent poverty rate and 654, 990 out-of-school children in the state clearly showed redirection where resources were needed.
He noted that for 2021, percentage of cash backed budget allocation was low and that some MDAs SP budget line
items were not allocated any budget.
He said it was a setback and needed revisiting to ensure the citizens felt the impacts of SP for overall well being of the state.
Also, Saudat Atoyebi, the Kaduna State Focal Person on Social Investment Programmes, lamented that 89.9 per cent of households in Kaduna lived below poverty level in a survey conducted in 2017.
Atoyebi, represented by Rebecca Pandonu, Special Assistant to Gov. Nasir El-Rufai on Social Investment, said the state implemented SP interventions such as free and compulsory education for the first 12 years of a child’s education .
She said other interventions were the State Contributory Health Scheme to reduce out-of-pocket expenditure and ensure access of poor and vulnerable citizens to quality and affordable healthcare services.
She further said other interventions for SP implemented in the state were access to free healthcare services for children under five, and also coordinated many Federal Government SP programmes.
She mentioned some of the successes of the SP programme in Kaduna to include comprehensive state-wide mapping of the programmes and constitution of multi-sectoral state steering committee on SP.
she said others were establishment of the state Social Investment Office for effective coordination and development of state policy on SP and provision of one per cent of the state budget for its funding which now reflected in the state budge.
Atoyebi, however, lamented challenges such as inadequate social workers and trained personnel on SP and inadequate funding to expand its coverage.
she added some challenges to include low level of digital literacy amongst the vulnerable, insecurity in some parts of the state and insufficient awareness of SP programmes in hard-to-reach areas and urban slums.
Atoyebi recommended additional training for personnel working in the SP space and increased funding to expand its coverage and improved digital literacy amongst the poor and vulnerable.
She also recommended adequate security for personnel working in high risk areas and increased sensitisation on SP programmes in hard-to-reach areas and urban slums.
Also, Mr Adejor Abel, State Lead Facilitator, Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a governance programme, called for the audit of the State Social Register to ensure data quality.
Abel also called on the MDAs to engage community structures like the Local Government Accountability Mechanism, Community Development Charter Champions, and other groups, to deepen citizens’ engagement at grassroots.
NAN reports that the event was supported by Safe the Children International under the FCDO-funded Expanding SP for Inclusive Development (ESPID).
NAN also reports that participants at the meeting included representatives of social protection implementing MDAs, civil society organisations and development partners. (NAN)