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8 Functions of Social Welfare in Nigeria

Social welfare is actually one of the government’s policies, aimed at  providing assistance to members of the society particularly, the needy and the less privileged families in the society.

Social welfare focuses on the quality of those governed and not necessarily about the standard of living of a people. Whereas it has to do with the provision of conducive environment for the governed.

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The environment in this context include, the land, the water and the air. It is about the provision of essential social services for the people. Essential services, such as provision of financial assistance to the aged members of the society, who could not work and the unemployed youths in an organized society, who could not gain or secure themselves employment.

8 Functions of Social Welfare in Nigeria

Moreso, social services like, provision of health care for the sick in the society and provision of education to those members of the society, who could not afford themselves education are also inclusive.

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What is Social Welfare Policy?

Social welfare policy is simply laws enacted by the government with the aim of improving the livelihood of the people particularly, the disadvantaged members of  the society. Nevertheless, social welfare do varies depending on individual society.

Importance of Social Welfare

Government’s social welfare is important, given the fact that, it allows for a system where members of the society particularly, the less-privileged can enjoy their fundamental rights, and as well, access a good number of social amenities as provided by the government.

However, social welfare is important in many ways, but for the want of time, I will provide you with few most important reasons why social welfare is importance.

1. It Alleviate Poverty Among the Members of the Society

The number one reason why social welfare is important is that, it allow members of the society particularly, those disadvantaged members of the society to benefit from such services.

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See the: 4 Ways to Eradicate Poverty in Nigeria

This however, portrayed why the government should work for the well-being of its citizenry. In Nigeria, there are so many poor people living in this country, who by the virtue of their citizenship deserve such social services from their government.

They are entitled for government’s   social welfare programs. Such social welfare programs are expected to help alleviate the level of poverty among this set of members of the society.

Therefore, it is mostly the disadvantaged members of the society, who stand to benefit greatly from social welfare policy of the government. So any government that prides itself in enacting the social welfare law or rule and implement same for the benefit of the less-privileged does so at its own good.

Why? The reason is obvious. Any government that takes the welfare of its citizens as a top priority is likely to deduce the number of poor people in the society hence, lessen the rate of crime.  Looking at it from another angle, social welfare programs do boost society’s economy.

2. It Put Government on its Toe And Make it Pragmatic

Secondly, why social welfare is important is that, while looking at the importance of social welfare policies, it is important to also note that, administering this policy is the sole responsibility of government.

And in most cases government do get  strapped for funds. And because of fiscal problems,  government do  run what I may described as ‘large deficits’ annually.

Therefore, a goverment that must succeed need be prudent and pragmatic in implementing social welfare policies to the benefit of its citizenry. It therefore become incumbent on the part of government to be smarter, sit to its responsibilities, and do more than expected in ensuring that social welfare policy work in order to avoid wasting the public funds while administering social welfare that is of no value to its citizenry.

It is a program that put a government on its toe to deliver dividends of governance to its people. Therefore, it is critical to have a well defined social welfare policy and program for the good of the governed and the government.

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3. It Helps Government  to Maximize Waste Of Public Funds Through Legislature’s Oversight Functions

Morso, social welfare policy as stated earlier is very important since it alleviate poverty among the members of the society and allow for quality lives of these people. It is designed to solve some of the  societal problems.

Be that as it may, some government officials can and do abuse the system hence, the growing rate of poverty in Nigeria. And since  social welfare  is a means to an end, and not the other way round,  it can call for the lawmakers in the state or in the National Assembly to engage profoundly in the policy and program of social welfare through its oversight functions so as to strike a balance by ensuring that a number of citizens benefit from the program, as well as, ensuring social welfare program’s cost effective, and minimization of waste on the part of the Executive, while implementing the social welfare policy. And if at all, waste is avoided and the policy is beneficial to the members of the public, such a success will spur the lawmakers to allot  more funds for social welfare programs in future  budgets.

4. It Avails Members Of The Public An Opportunity To Engage Themselves In Positive Adventure

It will interest us to know that, first and foremost, the social welfare is designed and developed towards assisting members of the public especially, the disadvantaged members of the society with a view to alleviate poverty. The social welfare program also serves as an opportunity to some risk households to avial themselves of such opportunity in maintaining and preserving their dignity as human.

Social welfare policy and program, apart from addressing issues related to poverty, for example, crime among the younger generation and mental disorder among the members of the society, occasioned by depression. It also give some members of the public an opportunity to engage themselves in positive adventure.

Functions of Social Welfare in Nigeria

We are told that caring for the members of the society by the government is all about social welfare. So what the government does is to introduced social welfare schemes to cater for social welfare need of members of the public, and I am going to name a few below as we continue.

5. Provision Of Financial Assistance For The Needy

The first one I will love to mention in this article is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families TANF scheme. Most people refer to this program as welfare. This social welfare program in most cases come as financial assistance.

The purpose of this scheme, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, as the name implies, is to make  temporary provision for financial assistance to members of the public particularly, for those pregnant women living within the society and families with some dependent children. So what Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program does is to provides financial help, such that will take care of the beneficiaries’ food and medical expenses, that of shelter, as well as utilities expenses.

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6. Provision of Health Care for the Sick or Aged

The objective of this social welfare scheme is to help states provide medical assistance to residents whose incomes and resources are insufficient to meet the costs of necessary medical services. Medicaid serves as the nation’s primary source of health insurance coverage for low-income populations.

7. Provision of Child’s Health Insurance

One of the functions of social welfare is about insuring the health of the children living within the society. It is called ‘Child’s Health Insurance Program CHIP’. Once a child is qualify, there will be no need of buying an insurance plan that will cover their health.

The program, Child’s Health Insurance program do provides low-cost health insurance plan to cover children in most families that earn more income to qualify for this plan. Child’s Health Insurance Program in most  states in Nigeria covers not only children but also pregnant women.

That is why states that offer Child’s Health Insurance Program CHIP coverage, work closely with their individual Medicaid program.

Read More: 25 Ways to Improve Health Care Delivery in Nigeria

8. Provision of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance

The last function of social welfare I will love to mention in this article is that of providing members of the public supplemental nutrition assistance. In some of the States, it is known as ‘Food Stamps’.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP, which was known and called as the Food Stamp Program, make for provision of food-purchasing aid for members of the public who have little or no income and who live within the country. In most cases such program are  federal government assistance program, and in most cases too, it is administered by the Ministry of Agriculture through  Food and Nutrition Service.


Social welfare is about improving the livelihood of the people particularly, the disadvantaged members of the society.

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Joseph Athanasius

Joseph Athanasius is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNIgeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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