By Benjamin Idakwo
Federal Government has called for harmony among stakeholders in the social security schemes, in the discharge of their mandate of harnessing comprehensive data in the schemes.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, made the call in Abuja at the Workshop on “Promoting synergy among formal social security schemes and programmes through improved social security data integrity”, organised for the stakeholders.
Ngige stated that Government would put in place, platforms for experts from all the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs in the social security schemes to work together to achieve optimum result in improving data integrity.
According to him, “It is imperative that all central machinery be put in motion for the effective collaboration of MDAs implementing social security schemes to ensure proficient services.”
Noting the global consensus on the importance of social security data for national socio-economic development, Ngige emphasised the importance of harnessing a comprehensive data for not only addressing gaps in social security schemes, but also for enhancing effective policy articulation by Government.
The Minister noted that in view of Nigeria’s vast population, a comprehensive data in social security would work to improve workers’ productivity, bridge income inequality, enhance social cohesion and engender national integration, as well as aid inclusive economic growth.
He stated that achieving the maximum gain of social security in Nigeria would entail adequate planning and data collection/collation to establish a dependable data base for all categories of beneficiaries and the various types of social security schemes provided.
Citing the definition by the International Labour Organisation, ILO, the Minister stated that “Social Security is a set of public policies and programmes undertaken by the society through series of public measures in response to certain contingencies, to offset the absence or substantial reduction in income resulting from sickness, maternity, employment injury, unemployment, invalidity and old age.”
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo, stated that the workshop was a call for strengthening and moving forward the social security focus in Nigeria, and an effort to achieve inclusive growth.
He added that eliminating extreme poverty and putting in place social protection would contribute immensely to the realization of a number of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Permanent Secretary disclosed that the workshop, with the theme “One Stop-Shop Information Centre for Social Security in Nigeria”, would “review the evidence of a positive social security influence with an aim to analysing the relevance and implications of new improved technologies in data collection for national social security schemes.”
Present at the workshop were the President, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and representatives of relevant organisations such as Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, and Civil Society Organisations.