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Nigeria and Other Nations Require Over $1tn for Social Protection (ILO)

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has stated that Nigeria and other low-income countries need approximately $1.4 trillion to provide basic social protection for 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’.

“This financing gap represents 3.3 percent 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 percent of annual GDP,” the ILO said.

It stated that to achieve universal coverage, low- and middle-income countries would require additional government spending of 10.6 percent 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 noted.

According to the organisation, for low-income countries in particular, bridging the gap would necessitate the mobilisation of four times the annual government expenditure, requiring international solidarity to accomplish this.

The report declared 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.

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

It was argued that attaining universal social protection was pivotal to adequately addressing the consequences of the climate crisis, as universal social protection helps to reduce vulnerabilities and climate shocks. Additionally, international climate financing could help reinforce and adapt social protection systems in low- and middle-income countries.

“Based on figures for 133 low- and middle-income countries, the working paper provides estimates of the investment necessary to ensure universal coverage of basic benefits for all children, mothers of new-borns, persons with severe disabilities, persons in old age, and the unemployed, as well as universal essential health care,” the ILO added.

According to Dr. Joseph Ochogwu, the Director-General of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, social protection is a major policy instrument that will primarily address critical social issues in Nigeria.



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