FG captures 26 million Nigerians into national social register

• As ministers canvass payment of stipends to unemployed Nigerians

No fewer than 26.789 million vulnerable Nigerians drawn from 7,892 wards across the country have so far been enrolled into National Social Register (NSR), as of the end of January 2021.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, disclosed this in Abuja, during the Inter-Ministerial dialogue on the National Social Register, where World Bank and other Development Partners pledged continued support for the national social safety net project.

According to the minister, the social register of poor and vulnerable households (PVHHs) compiled from 77,422 communities, 6,345,869 PVHHs and 678 Local Government Areas from 36 States of the Federation.

“As of 31st January 2021, out of the estimated 82.9 million (40.2 percent) Nigerians living below the poverty line, we have identified and registered 26.8 million poor and vulnerable individuals, equivalent to about 6.3 million households in our country. We are expecting another 20 million to be added to the database and held in the Rapid Response Register – a shock responsive intervention register, specifically targeted at urban informal workers impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. This database capacity is unprecedented in the history of our dear country.

“In 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics estimated that 40.2% (equivalent to 82.9 million) Nigerians live below the poverty line on less than one dollar ninety cents (US$1.9), and another 10 million were expected to fall below the poverty as a result of the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 by the end of the year.”

She also reiterated the present administration’s resolve to prioritize social protection interventions as a key strategy towards reducing poverty and addressing the effects of socioeconomic vulnerabilities with two key instruments: the National Social Protection Policy (NSPP) – which is currently under review; and, the joint FGN-IDA/World Bank National Social Safety-Nets Project (NASSP) – all initiated in 2016.

According to her, the National Social Safety Net Project (NASSP) was set up as a vehicle to “invest resources to deliberately improve the lives of all vulnerable Nigerians. To implement the NASSP, the Government established the National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO) to develop the building blocks and set the systems for implementing social safety nets in the country, as well as build the National Social Registry (NSR) – a hub for the aggregation of the databases of Poor and Vulnerable Households (PVHHs) across Nigeria.

She explained that the Ministry was also mandated to socialize and create demand for the use of the NSR for social development initiatives across various levels of governments and provide the needed database for Ministries, Departments and Agencies to mine for pro-poor interventions, as well as provide the framework for the engagement of donors, implementing partners and non-governmental organizations working to deliver humanitarian and/or social protection programmes.

The Minister affirmed that the data points in the social register capture personal information, such as names, age, gender, location (whether rural or urban, names of community, ward, Local Government and State), geocoordinate, level of education, vocation, employment status, disability status, ID numbers, phone numbers and addresses.

“This type of information is essential to facilitate administration of benefits to eligible households, prevent fraud and 3 allows contact tracing of households to process updates, resolve discrepancies or determine movement across socio-economic status. The information also allows tracking of coverage, data update, number and types of programmes served or benefited. We also have information on community profiles gathered through community asset assessment such as social amenities available, infrastructure, accessibility – roads, electricity, schools, hospitals/clinics, banking information, etc. These are all valuable information for deeper understanding of poverty dynamics in each community.

“Today, the social Register has coverage across the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT. We are in 601 LGAs out of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria. We have covered 7,320 wards, and 72,363 communities. This structure automatically provides the biggest database for any social inclusion or social protection intervention.

“Because of the size of the database, Ministries of Health, Women Affairs, Labour and Employment, Education, Agriculture, Youth, and many MDAs would find relevant database for pro-poor interventions. Currently, some of the programmes under the European Union funding stream are accessing the NSR database for their intervention.

“The United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), United Nations Women (UN Women) have also mined this database for its interventions, similarly, the National Health Insurance Scheme has mandated all State Contributory Health Management Schemes to mine from the register for social insurance schemes. At the State level, Anambra, Lagos and Kaduna State have mandated all their Ministries to mine the database for their pro-poor interventions,” the Minister noted.

She expressed optimism that the rich database in the NSR provides us the opportunity to easily coordinate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and achieve more effective coordination, documentary evidence of impact, and begin to bend and flatten the poverty curve in Nigeria.

During their separate presentations, the Minister of Sports and Youths Development, Sunday Dare and Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige canvassed for payment of unemployment to teeming unemployed youths across the country using the database generated by Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

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