The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called for a new social contract, including universal social protection coverage from the political class to ameliorate the suffering of the people.
The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, made the call in Abuja on Wednesday, at a roundtable on the 2021 Social Protection Cover.
The theme of the event is ”Expanding Social Protection Cover and Ensuring Effective Implementation in Nigeria”.
Ayuba said that social protection was a fundamental human rights intended to set minimum social security floor, alleviate poverty and provide economic security for all.
He said that there was the need to build social protection coverage to avert more people going into robbery, banditry, prostitution and kidnapping for ransom.
The NLC president pointed out that the emergence of COVID-19 had further exposed inequalities and significant gaps in social protection coverage.
”More than four million people, representing 53 per cent of the global population are unprotected against social shocks.
”With 17. 4 per cent social protection cover, Africa has the least social protection coverage for its citizens leaving most Africans vulnerable to economic shocks, poverty, hunger and illiteracy,” he said.
Wabba noted that social protection coverage was essential for human security and social justice; and was the foundation for peaceful societies.
He also decried the issue of housing deficit, inadequate health care services and how to increase public confidence in Contributory Pension Scheme.
He, however, advised the political class to be cautious of their utterances, especially using the 2023 election to cause crisis in the country.
”I wish to send a note of caution to some members of Nigeria’s political elites who are already overheating the polity on the account of the 2032 general election.
”The 2023 election must not be use as as excuse to unleash fresh dimension of intractable and internecine security crises in Nigeria.
”Therefore, it is important that the political class must mind what they say that the visionary leader think of the next generation which dysfunction leaders think of the next election,”he said.
Speaking, Hajiya Aisha Dahiru-Umar, Director-General, Pension Commission (PENCOM) said that Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) promotes social protection in Nigeria.
According to Dahiru-Umar, CPS promotes accountability, transparency and sustainability but that the major challenge in establishing its coverage is constitutional.
She noted that many states are not adopting CPS and some private employers are not remitting fund which had contributed to the challenges faced by the scheme.
”This is why the Bureau of Public Enterprises made it compulsory for contractors to present CPS certificate before getting job.
”So far, PENCOM has recovered N72 billion and this has helped us.,” she said.
The pension boss urged the government to avoid policy somersault and also settle outstanding liabilities of pension.(NAN)