Ekiti State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Akure Field Office and Office of the Special Adviser on Social Investment Programme have engaged community leaders, Peer Groups and beneficiaries of Social Protection Programmes to mobilize support for the development of Social Protection Policy in the state.
Speaking at the event which held in Ado-Ekiti, Special Adviser, Social Investment Programme, Barrister Victor Kolade ably represented by the Director Administration and Supply, Mr. Samuel Oludare Falana said that the mobilization exercise aim to ensure equal participation of all relevant stakeholders in the Social Investment Programmes of the state are duly anchored to effect the implementation of Social Protection Policy in Ekiti state.
“Social Investment is an integral part of the state’s agenda for development. As the anchor for Social Investment Programmes in the state, we want to ensure that every activity undertaken by relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies are duly collated for a comprehensive report that will be presented to Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Highlighting the objectives of the event, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning Folorunso Babalola said Social protection is a multi-sectorial and multi-disciplinary approach to poverty reduction with inextricably linked policy trails that require an omnibus organ for successful implementation.
“Ekiti State, Social Protection Policy shall be an umbrella policy structure that will incorporate related social agenda proposed to reduce poverty, and provide a life of dignity for our citizens. It will also articulate policy priorities of governments for the poor and those facing socio-economic vulnerabilities at all levels in the society,” he said.
In his opening remarks, Honourable Commissioner of Budget and Economic Planning, Olufemi Ajayi said Ekiti State Government is committed to creating an enabling environment for interventions of Donor Agencies towards improving the well-being of the people of the State.
“The State would try its possible best to honour the payment of its GCCC as a mark of its commitment to UNICEF assisted programmes and other Donors partnering with the State. There is therefore need for the State Government to develop institutional and human capacity, to initiate and implement sound child–friendly policies and programmes.
“UNICEF programme are in-line with the five pillars of the present administration which are; Governance, Knowledge Economy, Social investment, Infrastructural Development, Agric and Rural development. The performance of programmes implemented by UNICEF across the State however need to be monitored in programming order to align both the impact and the outcome of the programmes with the policies of the State Government,” he said.
While delivering a paper on ‘Poverty Situation in Ekiti State’, Statistician General, Ekiti State, Mr. Jide Oguntimehin, Fnsa ex-rayed the concept of poverty.
“Poverty is not merely the impoverished state in which a person actually lives but a lack of real opportunities due to social, economic and other constraints and circumstances that inhibit living a valuable and standard dignified life. The concept of poverty therefore goes beyond absence of low income to inadequate amenities but include poor health and nutrition status, low education and skills, inadequate livelihoods, poor housing conditions, lack of jobs, social exclusion and lack of participation in household decision,” he said.
Stating measures put in place for reducing extreme poverty in Ekiti state, Oguntimehin said the government should; Increase food security, improve lives through education and learning from Pre-Primary to Higher Education particularly intervention at Primary and Secondary level including Children with disability.
The Provision of health care service delivery and creation of strong health institutions is also important. Government should also provide humanitarian assistance through various social protection programmes – Social Security for the elderly, Assistance to Pregnant Mothers, Multiple birth parents, Cash transfer, Public Workfare among others,” he said.
Other presentations include; A Paper delivered on ‘Social Protection Vulnerabilities in Ekiti’ by Dr. Charles Doherty, Coordinator, SACA; ‘Overview of Social Protection Programmes in Ekiti State’ was presented by Director, Multilateral Relations, Mrs Bukola Ogunlade. The fourth Paper which is the ‘Draft of the Ekiti Social Protection Policy’ was Presented by the Permanent Secretary, Budget and Planning, Mr. James Babalola Folorunso.