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Fund social protection interventions to reduce poverty – EU tells FG

The European Union (EU) has urged the Federal and state governments to increase funding for social protection interventions, emphasising its importance in reducing poverty nationwide.

Mr Massimo De Luca, Head of Cooperation for the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, made the call in a communiqué at the end of the 3rd edition of the Social Protection Cross-Learning Summit (SPECS) in Abuja.

He described social protection as a crucial support system for vulnerable and poor households, providing both a safety net and hope.

The summit was organised by the Federal Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Social Protection Development Partner Group (DPG) under the theme “Social Protection Towards Human Capital Development.”

De Luca stressed that social protection plays a vital role in human capital development by ensuring access to essential services such as education, health, and nutrition.

According to De Luca, this contributes to economic stability, poverty reduction, and inclusive growth, forming a strong foundation for the country’s overall development.

Referencing a World Bank report that estimated Nigeria’s poor population at 104 million, or 46 per cent, in 2023, De Luca stated, “Investing in social protection means investing in our collective future and fostering resilience.”

He said it would ensure that every individual had the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to society in spite of background, location, or uncertainties.

Social protection plays a vital role in human capital development by ensuring access to essential services such as education, health, and nutrition.

He reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to collaborate with the Nigerian government to address poverty.

“The EU is supporting Nigeria’s social protection sector with 46 million Euro in its 2021 to 2027 programming, aimed at system strengthening and the design of social safety net programmes.

“We are finalising processes with UNICEF and GIZ to implement the project in the focal states,” he said.

De Luca added that the intervention would enhance the social protection system, focusing on the interoperability of related databases, and maintaining a functional shock-responsive social register.

He added that the initiative was also supporting safety net programmes in three North East states targeting communities affected by climate change. (NAN)

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