Director General of Nigeria Employers' Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Segun Oshinowo has called on world leaders to embrace social protection as a key policy tool to reduce poverty, inequality as well as boosting the health and capacity of vulnerable segments of society.
Oshinowo made the declaration at an interactive interview with international journalist covering the ongoing International Labour Conference (ILC), organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
According to him, it is also a tool to stimulate "inclusive growth by boosting the health and capacity of vulnerable segments of society, increasing their productivity, supporting domestic demand and facilitating the structural transformation of national economies.
"It is now a matter of political will to make it a reality. Modern society can afford to provide social protection", he added.
Osinowo, who argued that the multifaceted function that social protection plays in economies and societies, became particularly evident during the recent global financial and economic crisis.
"It is an issue that the international community should embrace prominently in the post-2015 Millennium Development agenda as it is more compelling, especially at these times of economic uncertainty, low growth and increased inequality," he said.
According to the NECA DG, the ILO Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202) reflects a consensus among governments and employers' and workers' organizations from 185 countries on the need to extend social security.
Most governments in developing countries are contracting public expenditures because of the cost involved, and which employers' of labour would not want add to their current burden, he said, noting that what happens is that "the cost of fiscal consolidation and adjustment is directly passed on to populations at a time of low employment and when support is most needed.
"These cost of fiscal consolidation include reforms to the pension, health and welfare systems that often involve reductions in coverage or funding of these systems, the elimination of subsidies and cuts or caps to the number of health and social workers or to their wages which ought not to be so."
This is part of the reason why in the World Social Protection Report 2014/15: Building economic recovery, inclusive development and social justice," only 27 per cent of the global population enjoys access to comprehensive social security, he stressed.