FG’s social protection programs reduce child labor and poverty —Ngige

The Minister of Labor and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has attributed the prevalence of child labor in Nigeria and Africa to the high level of poverty, saying that the billions of naira spent by the federal government on protection programs are a triple vaccination against poverty.

Ngige said so in Abuja when he participated in a press conference organized by the Ministry of Labor in collaboration with the International Labor Organization on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labor 2022, on the theme “Universal social protection to end child labour”.

The minister said the federal government is vigorously implementing its many social welfare programs to improve the lives of parents and children, adding that “everything is being done to maintain social welfare programs despite declining federal government revenues. ”

Ngige said poverty fuels child labor, especially in developing countries, and expressed optimism that the scourge can be eliminated through the establishment of social protection floors and programs.

He also noted that the Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment and other members of the National Steering Committee for the Elimination of Child Labor were using this year’s event to call for increased investment in programs and social safety nets to build strong social protection floors and protect children. of child labor.

The Minister explained that social protection programs are key to addressing poverty and vulnerability identified as causes of child labour.

He said, “The Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment, in collaboration with the ILO and other stakeholders, has worked diligently and collaboratively to ensure the elimination of child labor in line with SDG 8.7 and that young legal workers of working age are protected and work in safe conditions.

“The government is vigorously implementing the National Children’s School Feeding Program (NCSFP), which is the main element of the federal government’s battle against child labor, increasing children’s schooling and preventing them from dropping out of school”.

Ngige said the government is also investing billions of naira in Universal Basic Education (UBE), which allows children to attend primary and secondary school free of charge, in a bid to prevent them from working.

He said poverty is also being tackled through the conditional cash transfer program, the Trader moni and N-power program, diversification of the economy towards agriculture through the youth employment in agriculture program ( YEAP) and the Vocational and Technical Education Program (TVET).

He said the government was trying to maintain all these programs despite the drop in income.

Ngige described the current upheavals in the country, including the Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and the threat of unknown gunmen, as a rebellion of the have-nots against the big men and of the illiterate against the educated.

He called on developed countries and big business in Nigeria to support the fight against child labor in Nigeria by investing in social protection.

In her remarks, the Director of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Vanessa Phala, described the situation as very serious.

Phala said recent research by the ILO in partnership with UNICEF on the role of social protection in eliminating child labor revealed that 1.5 billion children worldwide, aged 0 to 14, receive no child or family allowance, while more than 160 million children (one in 10 children aged 5-17) were still working as children and progress has stalled since 2016.

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