Welfare is the general well-being of the people in a community. Welfare in general talks about good health, happiness and safety of people. The state or government is the main provider of welfare programme and these include hospitals, schools, good roads, communication facilities, security of lives and properties, access to habitable housing at affordable prices, etc. Measure Administration of Economic Welfare (MEW) is a measurement for evaluating standard of living. It is proposed by two economist called William Nordhaus and James Tobin in 1972.
The standard of living and welfare of the people are greatly increased by the combined efforts of householders, house workers, volunteers in the Red Cross, religious and civic club members, etc.
Welfare State – this is a system by which government provides a range of free services to people who need them. For instance, free education, free health care, medical care, money for people without work (in developed countries, America and Britain), care for old people, etc. Welfare can be measured broadly in two perspectives:
1. QUALITATIVE: This is in form of salary (high or low), pipe borne water, hospital, electricity, security of lives and properties, food, self sufficiency, access to banking and financial services, control and manageable inflation rate, stable economic (i.e. effective management of resources), gainful employment, access to property accumulation, etc.
2. QUANTITATIVE: This is in form of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross National Product (GNP), Per capita income, etc. All these are low in developing countries e.g. Nigeria, Ghana, etc, but high in the developed countries like Britain, USA, etc. Inflation is also an example but a moderate rate of inflation is preferable, that is, a single digit rate from 1 to 9.
VARIOUS PROGRAMMES FOR INCREASE IN WELFARE /WELFARE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMMES
Government of a country provides for welfare of her citizens and individual takes part in these programmes so as to get them improved on. These programmes could be grouped under the following:
1. NATIONAL PROVIDENT FUND (NPF): This programme was put in place to take care of the workers in the private sector. Here the workers do make contribution under the scheme called Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) which allows workers to contribute certain amount of money set aside to take care of retired members.
2. NIGERIA SOCIAL INSURANCE TRUST FUND (NSITF): This was established in 1993 under the decree number 73 to replace the National Provident Fund (NPF). The reason for this is to allow for a more comprehensive social security scheme for Nigeria private sector employees and to allow these workers contribute 2 ½% while their employers contribute 5% of the basic salary for workers retirement. There are number of benefits under this scheme will include retirement pension and grant; survivour’s pension and grant; invalidity pension and grant; and finally funeral grant.
3. NATIONAL HOUSING FUND (NHF): This was established to create an avenue for contributors to have access to their own or personal house. Every worker will contribute 2 ½% of their basic monthly salary. The accumulation allows them to take loan from mortgage house to facilitate their house project.
4. EDUCATION TAX FUND (ETF): Under this scheme, all private companies are expected to pay 2% of their profit after tax to the government which are gathered together to carry out important programmes on education.
There are other quite important programmes that had helped in improving the well-being of the people. These include National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Free Education, Universal Basic Education (UBE), Government Bursary/Scholarship, and Cooperative Access Scheme.