By; MOHAMMED MUNIRAT NASIR, Gusau
Zamfara State Government’ spends over N50 billion annually on Social Protection Programmes to improve welfare and economic status of the less privileged and vulnerable people in the state.
This was disclosed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Bala Bello Maru while briefing journalists about the signing and implementation of the State Social Protection Policy (SPP).
The SSG said the present state government prioritize SPP because the governor, Dr Bello Mohammed Matawalle has very strong interest in rendering Social Protection Services for the people of the state.
Bello said the state government’s various SPPs are currently being run by different Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).
He added that some of the state government’s sponsored SPPs includes the Zamfàara Social Intervention Programme (ZASIP), Zakkat and Endowment Board, Zamfara Comprehensive Agricultural Revolution Programmes (ZACAREP) and Women Empowerment programmes which gives N20,000 cash to 18,000 selected women monthly.
“Considering what we have been able to achieve on SP within one year, it clearly shows that we are very committed as we have being rendering Social Protection Programmes worth over N50 billion in the state,” he said.
Bello said the state Executive Council on 10th September deliberated and unanimously signed the Social Protection Policy and directed the state Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning to liaise with relevant stakeholders and the Save the Children International (SCI) to developed implementation framework.
“Going by the content of the policy, I believe it will guide the proper coordination of the State Govenment’s Social Protection programmes as well as generate a unified database for ease of reference to cover our communities,” he said.
He said governor Matawalle’s government is a government that is aware of the global trend of Social Protection that is why it signed the SP Policy.
“Even the advanced countries are implementing SPPs and therefore developing countries like Nigeria and a state like Zamfara which is suffering from adverse effects of banditry and other related social problems,” he said.
Bello said the present administration is determined to diversify the state’s revenue derive from oil to non-oil sectors of the economy with specific emphasis to agriculture, mining and human capital development.
“This initiative will further focus on women, youths and vulnerable groups in our society as the administration has taken into cognizant the need to have strong and implementable laws and policies to address most of our development challenges,” he said.
It will be recalled that the Social Protection Policy in the state was drafted in 2016 with the support of Save the Children International (SCI) and a state based Civil Society Organisation, Zamfara Social Protection Platform (ZSPP).