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Osun holds validation workshop on social protection policy

By Olawale Adewale, The Nigerian Voice, Osogbo 

The Office of Economy Development and Partnership (OEDP) in the Office of the Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, today held a workshop in Osogbo, the state capital on validation of social protection policy in the state.

The workshop was attended by representatives of the labour unions, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, research experts, chairmen of local government councils, top government officials from various ministries, departments and agencies as well as the Commissioners and the Special Advisers to the Governor.

The Commissioner for Budget Economic Planning who is also the Chairman of Osun Social Protection Programmes Implementation Committee, Dr Olalekan Yinusa told the participants that the workshop was organised to scrutinise the document on the Osun Social Protection Policy.

The Director General of OEDP, Dr Charles ‘Diji Akinola said the workshop was aimed at fully carrying the all stakeholders in the state along in the process of developing a comprehensive social protection policy for the state.

He lauded the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), EPRI, women groups, academics, civil society organizations, traditional leaders, religious leaders, community leaders, teachers, professional bodies, labour unions, civil society organizations, artisans, market men and women, development experts, politicians, and members of the Osun Social Protection Programme Implementation Committee and Technical Working Group among others for their enormous contribution to the development of the policy.

According to Akinola "we are together making progress in recognizing the fact that our State of Osun’s development can only be hastened up, if we work together to eliminate factors that contribute to poverty, inequality and vulnerability. Presently, social protection is seen by the international community, regional bodies such as the African Union, national and state governments as a policy tool to address such development challenges.”

“It is against this backdrop that the government of the State of Osun under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola upon assumption of office in 2010 made a pact with the good people of the state in his Six (6) Point Integral Action Plan which are banish poverty, banish hunger, create work and wealth, restore healthy living, promote functional education and Enhance communal peace and progress to respond to the above challenges.”

"A detailed look at the Six-Point Integral Action Plan would reveal that they are inherently social welfare and protection focused in nature. The Six-Point Integral Action Plan has resulted in the planning and implementation of a variety of social protection, social welfare, economic development and social services programming in the State, under the leadership of various state-level ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs)."

"The Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola government has robustly designed and is implementing innovative social welfare and protection programmes, spread across the different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and sectors, targeting some of the neediest sectors of the population including women, children and the elderly."

“The programmes include but are not limited to the following: Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme (O-MEALS), Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES), Social Welfare Scheme for the Elderly ‘Agba Osun’, Rehabilitation programme for the destitute and mentally challenged, Free Ambulance services, Empowerment programmes for widows and other vulnerable women among others”.

“These programmes are run to address some of the evidence-based vulnerabilities that are manifesting in the lives of the people. However, these programmes are run as social assistance projects with varying scope and coverage. It is noteworthy that sustainability of these programmes could benefit from a comprehensive policy and legislation framework.”

“Following this, the State Government of Osun working with UNICEF, the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI), South Africa and Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan has documented the social protection programmes in the state in order to capture emerging issues and lessons learned that should guide future implementation.”

“Furthermore, UNICEF and the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI) working with the State Government of Osun have also developed a draft Social Protection Policy for the State. The draft Social Protection Policy has been widely shared with various stakeholders (traditional leaders, religious leaders, community leaders, teachers, professional bodies, labour unions, civil society organizations, artisans, market men and women, development experts, politicians, among others) for review and comments.

Specifically, in November 2017, interviews were conducted for the various categories mentioned above; some participants here are respondents to the said interview.

The Osun Social Protection Policy is envisioned to build a social protection system that will provide a life of dignity to all residents of Osun by putting in place necessary institutions that ensure a reduction of poverty and socio-economic vulnerabilities, and guarantee social inclusion.

Today’s workshop is organised for key stakeholders to validate the draft Osun Social Protection Policy. I would like to urge participants to generate required inputs and relevant comments to make this validation workshop a success so that the draft policy is finalized.”

“In the next 10 years after the implementation of this policy in Osun, I am confident that the government would have worked to reduce to the barest minimum the proportion of men, women and children living in all forms of poverty, including the young people and people with disabilities and sustainably increase access to social welfare packages for all categories of vulnerable persons in Osun”, Dr Akinola stated.









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