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FG, development partners strengthen social registry to address poverty



Last Updated on July 25, 2023 by Fellow Press

The Federal Government says it is working closely with development partners to strengthen the National Social Registry (NSR) to make it serve as a single database for poverty reduction interventions.

It said such interventions would be made by all stakeholders in policy and programme design.

Sen. George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), stated this in Abuja on Tuesday, during a policy dialogue on Nigeria’s poverty and vulnerability profile.

Akume was represented at the event by Mrs Esuabana Asanya, the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs, SGF’s office.

He explained that the move was to ensure that the social register reflects the true poverty and vulnerability profile in Nigeria that would support effective targeting of interventions.

The secretary to the government of the federation pointed out that poverty and vulnerability remain pressing challenges in the country, saying that the advent of the Coronavirus has aggravated the problem.

He said current data indicated that 63 per cent of Nigeria’s population “is multi-dimensionally poor”, of which about 70 per cent constituted children.

The SGF also said that Nigeria’s social inequalities further exacerbate the situation, as access to essential resources such as food, education, healthcare, and infrastructure was unevenly distributed.

“Women, children, and persons with disabilities are among the most vulnerable groups facing poverty, ill-health, and economic shocks.

“This setback emphasizes the urgency to strengthen our efforts in mitigating these issues and improving the lives of millions of Nigerians,” he said.

He said that the dialogue was organised by the Social Protection Development Partners group, in partnership with the Federal Government to find ways to address the challenge.

Akume said the primary objective was to develop a common understanding of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria and identify key indicators for measuring them, adding that the meeting was also to devise strategies that would strengthen the registry.

“At the end of the meeting, we will develop a shared understanding of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria among all relevant stakeholders, including government officials, civil society organisations, and development partners.

“This common understanding will pave the way for more coordinated and efficient policy design and programme implementation.

“The meeting will equally help us to identify key indicators for measuring poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria and how to align them with a nationally agreed measure.

“By establishing these indicators, we will enhance our ability to accurately assess poverty levels and progress over time that will lead to better-informed decision-making processes,” the SGF said.

He expressed optimism that the stakeholders would establish a comprehensive framework that accommodates various dimensions of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria.

This, according to him, will arm the government and stakeholders with the knowledge and strategic approach to design and implement effective poverty reduction and social protection policies and programmes.

“This is particularly crucial in our efforts to collectively address the critical development issues of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable populations,” he said.

Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, noted that understanding the nature and extent of poverty was vital in developing targeted interventions and strategies.

Sani-Gwarzo said that the registry captures community profiling, to establish paucity of social infrastructure and its interconnectedness with poverty and issues of access to social assistance.

“The NSR is the foundational database for the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria, and this is the first time we have developed such a valuable system.

“In the past few days, this database has come into sharp focus.

“The outcome of the workshop will provide valuable insights as to the ways to strengthen what we already have,” he said.


Nigeria marks 25 years of democracy with special parade



Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Fellow Press

As part of activities to mark the 2024 Democracy Day, the Guards Brigade Nigerian Army on Wednesday led the Nigerian Armed Forces and Nigeria Police in a special parade.

Nigeria is also celebrating 25 years of unbroken democracy.

The theme for the Democracy Day Celebration is “25 Years of Enduring Democracy: Prospects for the Future”.

The parade was mounted by the personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the Police who displayed a colourful parade.

President Bola Tinubu, who is the reviewing officer for the parade mounted the special military parade vehicle with his Aide de Camp to inspect the parade at about 10.15 am.

Afterward, the troops began the match past, first to salute the dignitaries and seek permission to commence the quick match past.

This was followed by the silent drill display by the Guards Brigade, mass bang and cultural troupes display and other important activities

President Tinubu and his wife, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu arrived the venue at exactly at 10.00 am heralding the commencement of the programme.

The President of the Senate and Speaker, House of Representatives, Godswill Akpabio and Tajudeen Abbas as well as the Chief Justice of Nigerian and Secretary to the Government of the Federation arrived earlier.

Also present were Ministers, state governors, lawmakers and security chiefs.

Earlier in a nationwide broadcast, President Tinubu praised the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola and other heroes of democracy, including General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Pa Alfred Rewane, among others.

In his Democracy Day broadcast on Wednesday, the President also celebrated other heroes including Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Commodore Dan Suleiman, Chief Arthur Nwankwo, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Frank Kokori, and Chief Bola Ige, and other eminent Nigerians who made great sacrifices for the restoration of democracy in the country.

The President urged Nigerians to beware of elements who might want to undermine the current democratic dispensation.

He acknowledged the economic hardships in the country and expressed his commitment to supporting the citizens.

He said, “On this day, 31 years ago, we entered our rites of passage to becoming a true and enduring democratic society.

“Going through this passage was hard and dangerous. During the fateful six years that followed, we fought and struggled for our natural rights as human beings put on this earth by the divine hand of our Creator.

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Minumum Wage: Govs should resign if they can’t pay, says Labour



Last Updated on June 9, 2024 by Fellow Press

Organised Labour on Saturday tackled the state governors, accusing them of acting in bad faith towards the new minimum wage negotiations ongoing in the country.

Recall that the governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum rejected the proposed N60,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

In a statement issued on Friday by the Director of Media and Public Affairs for NGF, Halimah Ahmed, the governors said the proposed minimum wage was too high and not sustainable.

The governors said if the N60,000 minimum wage is adopted, many states would allocate their entire Federal Account Allocation Committee funds to salaries, leaving no resources for development projects.

However reacting on Saturday, the Organised Labour faulted the NGF’s position, saying every part of the new minimum wage agreement should be implemented and any of the state governors who can’t pay it should resign.

According to Punch, the Deputy National President of the Trade Union Congress, Tommy Etim, said, “There is no minimum wage. Every segment of it should be implemented. For the governors, we have said it very clearly. If you cannot pay minimum wage, please resign because you were voted for governance not for only infrastructure.”

“If you build the entire infrastructure and the people are not living to use it, who will use it? When they were campaigning did they tell us that? They didn’t tell us that. They make use of the poor to get to the top and when they get there, they start thinking outside the box. All the money they spent in electioneering campaigns, if they applied that to build infrastructure, to develop the revenue generation that would have solved some socio-economic challenges in their domain,” Etim said.

Describing the NGF statement as a recipe for industrial unrest, he said, “In this same country, the governors said that N30,000 was too much for governors to pay but it is in the same country that a governor emerged with over N80bn. What an irony! We cannot jump processes. We will also look at it together. Labour will be meeting. We are giving Mr President the benefit of the doubt to work the talk. The end will justify the means.”

Also reacting in a statement signed by its Head of Public Affairs, Benson Upah, the Nigerian Labour Congress said, “We do believe the Governors have acted in bad faith. It is unheard of for such a statement to be issued to the world in the middle of an on-going negotiation. It is certainly in bad taste.

“As for the veracity of their claim, nothing can be further from the truth as FAAC allocations have since moved from N700bn to N1.2tn, making the governments extremely rich at the expense of the people.

“All that the governors need to do to be able to pay a reasonable national minimum wage (not even the N60,000) is cut on the high cost of governance, minimise corruption as well as prioritise the welfare of workers.”

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