By Michael Oche, Abuja
Nigeria on Tuesday made history as it became the first country to host the launch of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) World Report on Social Protection 2017 – 2019, which is the first time the world body is laughing its Report outside the ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The report has taken years to collate and is coming at a time when the Nigerian government in July approved its first national social protection policy as well as Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) president being elected into the ILO governing board
Speaking during the Launch of the Report in Abuja, ILO assistant director general and regional director for Africa, Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon explained that 10 countries were initially selected to host the launch, with Nigeria emerging as the final host.
Samuel-Olonjuwon, a Nigerian who was only few weeks ago appointed as assistant director general of the world body said the flagship report provides a global overview on recent trends in social protection systems, including social protection floors.
She said the report took into account protection in case of maternity, unemployment, employment injury and disability and pension for older persons. It also presents progress towards universal coverage in health, which is an important dimension in the push for social protection.
According to her, despite significant progress in the extension of social protection coverage in Africa, only 17.8 per cent of the population receive at least one form of social protection such as cash benefit with significant variation across countries.
She expressed hope that “more countries in west Africa, including Nigeria will soon be on the list of countries that have attained universal coverage.”
Meanwhile, the new report shows that 82 per cent of Africans are left without social protection. It also showed that 55 per cent, which is 4 billion persons worldwide are left unprotected.
In his address, minister of state for Labour and Employment, prof Ocheni thanked the ILO for chosing Nigeria as host to launch the report.
He said the launch will help Nigeria in implementing its social protection policy. According to him, Nigeria is committed to achieving universal coverage.
He said, “I’ll like to use this opportunity that on our part as a government, we are committed to collaborate to achieve our mutual objective as far as social protection for our citizens is concerned because this is a very crucial part in the life of our citizens.”