…as Gov inaugurates Social Protection Policy steering committee
The Enugu State government has said it would continue to partner with the United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF) on programmes geared towards the eradication of poverty and improving human capital development across the state in line with the poverty eradication policy of the Governor Peter Mbah administration.
The assurance was given by the governor during the formal inauguration of the steering committee on Social Protection Policy (SPP) saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the success of the UNICEF-assisted project, Government House, Enugu, on Tuesday.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof Chidiebere Onyia, said the administration was clear from the inception of the government on the pathway to effectively eradicating poverty and improving the standard of living of the citizens.
He stated that the government had already initiated key programmes that would drive the policy targeted at lifting people out of the pit of poverty, adding that the UNICEF advocacy of SPP would further strengthen the resolve of the Mbah administration to achieve a zero percent poverty headcount within the next 8 years.
Noting that the administration was making tremendous efforts towards industrializing the state, Governor Mbah disclosed that the state targeted to increase its internally generated revenue through expansion of economic activities, attraction of more investments and exploitation of the abundant resource deposits across the state without increasing or overburdening the citizens with taxes.
“We have made tremendous effort to strengthen our institutions. We are increasing our IGR through the e-governance framework which is already plugging leakages. Our administration is clear about its governance philosophy of transparency, traceability, and holding public officeholders to account,” he added.
He commended the United Nations agency for the support the state government had been receiving through its various programmes, adding that the administration would create the enabling environment for the success of the social protection policy which was a key target of the government.
While charging the steering committee to be dynamic, systematic and strategic in their approach to delivering on the assignment given to it, the governor assured that the institutional framework and other supports that would help to catalyze the policy would be given priority by his administration.
Speaking earlier, the UNICEF Enugu Chief of Field Office, Mrs. Juliet Chiluwe, commended the state government over its efforts at charting the path to sustainable development with the policy, saying when fully implemented, it would have an “overarching goal to establish a gender-sensitive, inclusive and lifecycle framework to ensure a life of dignity for all citizens of Enugu State.”
She explained that the social protection policy had been the bedrock of development in developed countries through special budgetary allocation. “Social Protection Policy has been the bedrock of development even for developed countries as they budget between 20-26% of their GDP on social protection. The social protection is cross-cutting and multi-sectoral,” she said.
According to her, the social protection policy would improve key aspects of human capital development in the state, including social assistance, social care, social insurance, labour market interventions, micro and small enterprises development, complementary measures for social protection and strengthening social protection in the state.
She urged the government to assist in facilitating the implementation mechanism for social protection through the creation and funding of the Social Protection Department which would be domiciled in the State Economic Planning Commission.
Speaking on behalf of the committee, the Commissioner for Human Capital Development and Poverty Eradication, Dr. Malachy Agbo, promised that the committee, which is headed by the Deputy Governor, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, would do everything within its reach to deliver on the mandate given to it.
Commending the governor for already pioneering the policy meant at eradicating poverty in the state, Dr. Agbo expressed confidence that eliminating poverty within the next 8 years was possible.
On her part, the Commissioner for Children, Gender Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Ngozi Enih, said the governor had already paid some of the counterpart funds targeted at the economic empowerment and emancipation of women in the state.
She added that the initiatives were deliberate as they were part of the promises made by the governor in his Social Contract with the people, saying more women had started accessing grants to help them set up business, improve their capital base and expand their trading and farming activity.
Some of the committee members include Mr. Dan Onyishi of the Enugu State Economic Planning Commission, Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro-Industrialization, Engr. Patrick Ubru, Commissioner for Water Resources, Dr. Felix Nnamani, Executive Chairman, Enugu State Universal Basic Education, Dr. Gabriel Ajah, Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, Prof. Sam Ugwu, Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Barr. Lloyd Ekweremadu, Commissioner for Health, Prof Obi Emmanuel, Commissioner for Education, Prof Ndubueze Mbah, Special Adviser to the Governor on Donor Relations, Mr. Dubem Onyia, among others.