Nigeria, others Will Need Over $1tn For Social Protection - ILO

By Clement Alphonsus

The International Labour Organisation has disclosed that Nigeria and other low-income countries will need about $1.4tn to provide basic social protection to their citizens.

This was disclosed by the organisation in a new working paper titled ‘Financing Gap for Universal Social Protection: Global, Regional, and National Estimates and Strategies for Creating Fiscal Space’.

ILO said, “This financing gap represents 3.3 per cent of the annual GDP of low- and middle-income countries combined. The findings point to even greater challenges for low-income countries, where the social protection financing gap reaches an overwhelming 52.3 per cent of annual GDP."

It also explained that to achieve universal coverage, low- and middle-income countries would need additional government spending of 10.6 per cent of annual government expenditure.

“This can be raised through domestic resources, such as taxation and social security contributions, as well as through better management of sovereign debt,” it said.

The organisation noted that for low-income countries in particular, bridging the gap would require the mobilisation of four times the annual government expenditure.

The report showed that to close such a gap, development assistance to low-income countries would need to be more than tripled and used solely for social protection.

It said, “Regionally, the findings show that Africa faces the most substantial challenges, with a financing gap of 17.6 per cent of the continent’s GDP per year, followed by low- and middle-income countries in the Arab States (11.4 per cent), Latin America and the Caribbean (2.7 per cent), Asia and the Pacific (2.0 per cent) and Europe and Central Asia (1.9 per cent)."

It insisted that attaining universal social protection was pivotal to adequately tackle the consequences of the climate crisis because universal social protection helps to reduce vulnerabilities and climate shocks.