The Sokoto State Government has inaugurated a 28-member Technical Working Group (TWG) on the implementation of social protection programmes, as part of steps to alleviate poverty and increase equity in the distribution of resources to citizens.
Inaugurating the committee, on Saturday, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Mainasara Ahmad, said the group’s inauguration was part of the government’s commitment to fighting poverty among vulnerable segments of the state.
Ahmed said the state government was working closely with development partners, particularly UNICEF, in the implementation of some social protection programmes.
He said the programmes included cash transfer to education, especially for the girl child, enrollment of vulnerable individuals into the healthcare contributory scheme and other state social assistance initiatives, managed by the State Zakat and Waqf Commission.
The commissioner disclosed that the committee was expected to support the state in strengthening the coordination of all social protection programmes, as well as facilitate the domestication and implementation of the National Social Protection Policy.
He noted that it would also serve to guide the state in the implementation of its social protection interventions.
‘’On behalf of the Sokoto state Government, under the leadership of Gov. Aminu Tambuwal, I formally inaugurate this 28-member Technical Working Group which has full representation of critical state actors.
” The actors include the Sultanate Council, office of the Secretary to the State Government, People with disability, women’s groups and others.
” Let me assure you that the state government is passionate about social protection programmes and we will give you all the logistics and financial support you require to deliver on your tasks,” Ahmad said.
According to him, the policy will be vigorously followed and implemented, adding that this will ensure that positive impact is made on the people of the state. The commissioner added that the protection programmes would focus mainly on vulnerable groups, increasing girl child education, reducing maternal mortality and improving the lives of physically challenged persons, among others . He further noted that, the TWG would come up with a single document that would ensure effective mainstreaming of social protection policies and programmes.
In his remarks, the UNICEF Chief of Sokoto Field Office, Mr Mohameden Fall, reiterated his organisation’s commitment to continue providing both technical and financial support on Social Protection and other thematic interventions.
Fall, who was represented by UNICEF’s Health Manager, Ranganai Matema said efforts were geared towards improving the state’s human development indices and to scales up cash transfer programmes
‘’ Our mandate is to work with the government for the protection of children’s rights, help them with their basic needs and expand opportunities so that they can reach their full potential.
” Today’s event is laying another opportunity in making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable segments of our population, which will no doubt lead to their integration into development and social assistance programmes,’’ Fall said.
After the inauguration, Alhaji Arzika Usman-Bodinga, Chairman, state TWG on Social Protection, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, thanked UNICEF, the ILO, UNDP and WFP, currently implementing a joint SDGs social protection programme in the state.
Usman-Bodinga said the effort of the TWG was expected to serve as a blueprint for other states through policy and capacity strengthening.
He said the committee would ensure strong coordination of all social protection activities in the state and commence the process of domesticating the new National Social Protection Policy, as soon as it was finalised. (NAN)