Investing in social protection, decent work for economic recovery | The Guardian Nigeria News

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on economies, the need for nations for a human-centered recovery from the crisis has been underscored.

The people-centered approach, the experts said, should be based on inclusive economic growth and employment, protection of all workers, universal social protection and social dialogue.

Recovery, they argued, should not only aim to improve people’s living standards and reduce inequalities, but also to empower people to meet the challenges imposed by a rapidly changing world of work.

Already, it is estimated that 8.8% of total working hours, or the equivalent of hours worked in a year by 255 million full-time workers, were lost globally in 2020.

This is exactly as global labor income is estimated to have declined by 8.3 percent. Although lower-middle-income countries experienced the greatest losses in working hours, which amounted to 11.3 percent, and labor income, which amounted to 12.3 percent , research indicates that women in the informal economy, children and migrant workers were disproportionately impacted.

Likewise, around 88% of global public spending aimed at mitigating the effects of the crisis during the first phase of the pandemic went to advanced economies.

The unprecedented social protection and labor market measures have been implemented mainly in advanced economies, leaving 53.1% of the world’s population without protection.

Experts believe that the political window to embark on a far-reaching strategy in support of strong social protection systems must be seized to move swiftly towards universal social protection systems while preparing for present and future challenges.

They underlined that the green and just transition holds enormous potential for all countries, in particular by investing in more sustainable and diversified economies as well as in the creation of new productive employment opportunities.

They say it is time to show solidarity and increase investments in universal social protection, decent work and equal societies.

These priority areas, they argued, required a commitment of funding from all sources in the short, medium and long term. Recently, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the International Labor Organization (ILO) jointly launched a Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection to create at least 400 million jobs in ‘by 2030, mainly in green and care economies. and extend social protection floors to more than four billion people currently not covered by any social protection measures by 2030.

The Accelerator builds on pre-existing initiatives to bring stakeholders together to achieve universal social protection and green, job-rich economic development and put the world back on track to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda. United by 2030.

The ILO has said that progress made through the Financing for Development initiative must be continued and scaled up not only to address the looming debt crisis, but also to unleash investments in an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery. .

As proposed in the Secretary-General’s report, Investing in Jobs and Social Protection for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Recovery, the ILO will organize a multilateral forum in 2022 to review and accelerate progress towards a rich environment. jobs, green, gender sensitive and socially inclusive. and human-centered recovery.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, in his remarks at the recently concluded annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on the economic and social outlook, said a two-way recovery pathways, which he says is creating a great divergence, which jeopardizes the recovery itself and undermines trust and solidarity.

According to him, the recovery is deeply uneven, spurred by vast differences between advanced and developing economies in access to vaccines, fiscal capacity and the ability of governments to respond, a growing digital divide and the threat of a crisis. of impending debt.

Governments around the world have implemented an unprecedented employment and social protection response to protect people’s health, jobs and incomes.

Around 1,700 social protection and labor market measures have been deployed. But while these measures acted as important buffers, they remained insufficient to mitigate the full impact of the crisis and were mainly implemented in advanced economies, leaving 53.1% of the world’s population unprotected, or some 4.14 billion people.

Despite the disproportionate impact of the crisis on women’s employment and incomes, only 13% of these measures were aimed at strengthening women’s economic security and only 11% provided support in the face of growing demands for unpaid care.

In addition, in many countries, social protection measures, including income support, have been temporary or one-off in nature and are now at risk of being reversed despite their positive impact on poverty prevention and alleviation. .

In Nigeria, for example, the President of Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, has called in various forums for adequate implementation of social protection coverage for Nigerian workers, following current security concerns. that afflict the country.

Specifically, during this year’s NLC roundtable on social protection coverage, Wabba said that social protection is the key to human security and social justice, noting that it is the foundation of societies. peaceful people engaged in the sharing of wealth and prosperity.
He said it was firmly established that the physical insecurity crisis in Nigeria has very close links with human insecurity, all the more marked by the lack of social protection coverage for the poor and vulnerable in the region. company.

He noted that social protection was a basic human right intended not only to establish a minimum social security floor, but also played an important role in poverty reduction and economic security for all.

According to him, “the social protection floor such as basic income security, including cash transfers if necessary, pensions, disability benefits, unemployment benefits and support, maternity protection, family allowances as well as universal access to essential social services such as health, education, water, sanitation and housing make a big difference.

Wabba, who revealed that the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the weakness of the current global economic model and social protection system, said Africa has the least social protection coverage for its citizens, leaving most Africans vulnerable to economic shocks, poverty, hunger. , a huge burden of disease, illiteracy and destitution.

He expressed concern that the state of social protection coverage and living standards indices left very little to be desired.

In 2020, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that around 83 million Nigerians representing 40% of the total population live in abject poverty.

Wabba said: “In the absence of any minimum sustained social protection coverage, the only alternative available is to resort to a life of crime. This is the reason why many young people are drawn to terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, rural and urban banditry, armed robbery, activism, prostitution, brutality and other forms of violent crime.

During the forum, the president of the Federal House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said that social protection is one of the most important responsibilities of the government.

He said it was a constitutional obligation to ensure that adequate and adequate housing, adequate and adequate food, a reasonable national living wage, old-age care and pensions, and unemployment, sick and poor people. well-being of the disabled are ensured.

He added: “I have always believed that a politician, whatever his party, who does not have the best interests of the workers at heart, is not a real politician. I believe the reason every politician should exist is the people.

“I want to assure you that in the House of Representatives, we are committed to using the tools of legislative authority to propose solutions and implement policies that will help fulfill the promise of a more perfect union. These are difficult times for our country. ”

Joel C. Hicks