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Kaduna State: Passage Of Social Security Law, Not Yet Uhuru – By Yusuf Ishaku Goje

On the 6th of June, 2023, the Kaduna State Legislature wrapped up the ninth Assembly with the passage of five bills into law. Excitedly, the State Social Security bill was among those passed into law. The law provides the legal framework for better coordination, institutional synergy, effective implementation, adequate funding and accountability of tailored social protection programmes in the State. This will enable Social-Protection-Under-One-Roof with a coordinating Agency charged with the responsibility of ensuring the poor are removed from poverty as well as the vulnerable groups are socially protected.

Commendably, this is timely as the State is currently in dire straits with 70% incidence of multidimensional poverty. About 8.04 million residents are said to be multidimensionally poor; and also, has a 43% income poverty rate. The State is among four States that is home to one quarter of the 22.85 million poor children under five in Nigeria. This is made worse by the rising unemployment and underemployment rate in the State, 44.3% and 22.6% respectively, according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In addition, the State’s age structure shows a high dependency rate – as 49% of the total population are children below 14 years old, while 67% are less than 24 years old.

However, it is not yet uhuru, as the assent of the Governor, Senator Uba Sani, is what is being awaited for the law to be effective. As well as the establishment of the coordinating Agency and adequate financing through the trust fund. It is now time for the Governor to fulfill his social contract with residents of Kaduna State as captured in his SUSTAIN blueprint. In the blueprint the Governor made a categorical commitment to strengthen social welfare programmes and pro-poor interventions.

Furthermore, in the blueprint it states – “We will deepen KDSG programmes designed to cater to the interests and needs of women, youths and the vulnerable. We will further empower the agency assigned with the mandate of social development and human services to champion and help integrate pro-poor interventions across government.” Therefore, all that is now expected of the Governor is to sign the law, establish the Agency and ensure adequate financing of social protection programmes in the State.

It is worthy of note that the last administration through the State Social Investment Office developed and approved the Kaduna Social Protection Policy. Also, an implementation plan and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Framework were developed, which are yet to be approved. Through the State Operations Coordinating Office (SOCU), the State Social Register (SSR) now has a total of 1,056,622 Poor and Vulnerable Households (PVHHs). This is made up of 3,953,809 individuals. Similarly, during the last administration, the State Executive Council adopted the SSR as the primary data source for PVHHs.

The register is currently being used by the Federal and State government as well as organizations and philanthropists to mine data to provide interventions for targeted poor and vulnerable groups. The progress recorded could not have been achieved without the support of Save The Children International, Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC) and Open Government Partnership (OGP) Technical Working Group on Social Inclusion, among others. Notwithstanding the progress made, it has also revealed challenges such as weak coordination, low public awareness, inadequate funding/poor cash-backing of budget releases, coverage, overdependence of Federal government interventions, among others.

The Social Security law passed by the State Assembly and awaiting the assent of the Governor will be key to addressing the above-mentioned challenges. The Governor, in order to demonstrate his commitment to pro-poor issues should also consider approving the draft implementation plan and mandate that the ongoing 2024 budget formulation should have an allocation of not less than five percent of the total budget to social protection programmes.

In conclusion, we call on the Governor to fulfill his campaign commitment as captured in the SUSTAIN blueprint, where it states, “Our commitment to human capital development includes a focus on social welfare and liberating empowerment through dedicated funds for women andyouths, robust social investment programmes for vulnerable persons and extensive pro-poor interventions.”

Lets engage, ask the right questions and hold the government accountable.

Yusuf Ishaku Goje
Active Citizen

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