Stakeholders pledge more funding for child protection
… Call for proper tracking of investment
A call has gone to all stakeholders to ensure improved funding for child development and protection services and programs.
This call was made during the launch of the Financial Benchmark and Economic Burden of Violence Against Children’s Report on Lagos State at the Dover Hotel, Ikeja-Lagos.
Speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Lagos State; Mrs. Bola Balogun, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Funmi Balogun and those from Lagos State Bureau of Statistic, ministries of Education, Justice, Health, State Basic Education Board and Health Service Commission among others, agreed that there should be improved funding for child development programs and services.
“From the survey findings, we believe there must be concerted efforts geared towards reducing the economic burden of violence against children and we can give the assurance of the current administration to rise up to the occasion of improved funding, prompt approval and release.”
Also speaking, the Chief of Field Office UNICEF Lagos and child protection expert, Mr Dennis Onoise, also emphasized the need for increase in quantity and quality of funding for child protection programs because research has shown that 6 out of 10 Nigerian children suffer one form of abuse or the other before the age of fourteen.
He commended Lagos State for creating a budget line for child protection which other states must emulate but called for more funding as well as prompt release of approved funds in Lagos.
In addition, he called for a shift in budget allocation and expenditure towards prevention services to create a more holistic child protection system.
According to him, there is also the need to formalise an End VAC National Act Plan and establish VAC helpline. “These will improve the delivery of child protection services across the country.”
The survey also showed that Nigeria loses over N1.4 trillion every year to violence against children.
Presenting the findings of the survey on behalf of the consultants who carried out the survey, Juliane Koenlg stated that the figures represent 1.6 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “These figures were based on the survey conducted in 2019 by the federal government in collaboration with UNICEF.”
“On average, deaths, and disability resulting from acts of violence against children cost Nigeria N1.42 trillion annually.
“This is equivalent to 1.6 percent of Nigeria’s GDP. This includes physical, sexual and emotional violence against children in the country.”
She said that the launch of the two reports provides first-hand information on the high economic cost of violence against children in Nigeria.
The documents clearly showed that there is a huge financial loss from cumulative loss earnings due to loss of productivity as a result of sufferings associated with various degrees of violence hence, the need to increase allocations/expenditures for Child Protection Services as well as more analysis of the level of public expenditure and cost of inaction for child protection services in Nigeria.
As part of the wake-up call by His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari in September, 2015, for a National Campaign to End Violence Against Children (VAC) in Nigeria, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and with the support from UNICEF, embarked on the two different surveys to determine the financial commitment of government on Child Protection Services and also to evaluate the economic loss of VAC.
An essential part of the National Campaign and the study was to increase the level of public fund allocations for Child Protection services across the Federal MDAs and four pilot states (Lagos, Cross Rivers, Plateau and Gombe).
The first part of the study was on Financial Benchmark on child protection: this study was embarked upon to provide evidence of the actual budget allocation and expenditure on child protection services.
The second report which is on Economic Burden of Violence Against Children presented the cost of inaction on VAC; this was to deepen the evidence of the child protection for every Nigerian Child.
“The findings provide a strong evidence-base for urgent prioritised development and funding of interventions by all stakeholders for the reduction of violence against children.
“The adverse consequences of childhood violence affect not only children as individuals, but by extension, families, communities and societies.
“Nigeria’s future economic growth and development, may unfortunately, be compromised if sustained, committed support and resources to Nigeria’s Child Protective Systems are not secured.
“These systems are essential in the identification and prevention of suspected cases involving violence against children as well as to ensure immediate access to health and protective services for victims when needed.
All the stakeholders agreed on the need to set priorities on preventive and responsive child protection services as well as include evidence-based study results to advocate for more funding and better coordinated efforts across all relevant MDAs.