20m vulnerable Nigerians targeted as FG tweaks National Social Register
Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, says the Federal Government is set to make the National Social Register (NSR) more interactive to enhance collaboration.
The NSR is a database of poor and vulnerable households in Nigeria.
Farouq said at the Annual Ministerial Dialogue on the NSR on Tuesday in Abuja that the focus of the meeting included charting ways to have central database for the programme through collaboration with other relevant agencies in data capturing.
The minister explained that the objective of the event was also to enhance collaboration with the state register to develop proper database for pro-poor social development interventions.
According to her, another objective is to establish the gateway for further collaborations among relevant stakeholders on poverty reduction, social protection and humanitarian interventions.
She said that the collaboration would culminate to the maximisation of effective utilisation of data in the development of various sectors of the economy in the country.
“As of Jan. 31, out of the estimated 82.9 million (40.2 per cent) Nigerians living below the poverty line, we have identified and registered 26.8 million poor and vulnerable individuals.
“This is equivalent to about 6.3 million households in our country.
“We are expecting another 20 million to be added to the database, specifically targeted at urban informal workers impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Farouq said.
According to her, the database capacity is unprecedented in the history of the country.
She explained that her ministry was mandated to socialise and create demand for the use of the NSR for social development initiatives across various levels of governments.
She explained that it was also to provide the needed database for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for interventions.
She said that it was also to provide the framework for the engagement of donors, implementing partners and non-governmental organisations working to deliver humanitarian and/or social protection programmes.
“Social registers serve both a social policy role as inclusion systems and an operational role, as information systems.
“They provide a gateway for potential inclusion of intended populations into social programmes while reducing private and public transaction costs by simplifying certain steps, such as identification and registration of people eligible for social assistance.
“They also enable better coordination across programmes, more efficient delivery and better shock response,” Farouq said.
Speaking, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said that the first thing to do in addressing poverty was to attend to the vulnerable, especially the women in the country.
According to her, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing so much to address poverty in the country.
“With the socialisation of the NSR and collaboration among the relevant stakeholders, it will go a long way to enhance achievement of Buhari’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty,” she said.
Similarly, Dr. Isah Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, said by integrating all the registers, the government would make a remarkable success in database administration.
Pantami, represented by Alhaji Aliyu Aziz, the Director-General of National Identity Management Commission, stressed that the National Identification Number (NIN) was very fundamental to ensuring an effective database.
“However, we look forward to collaboration with the ministry of humanitarian affairs, National Social Safety-Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO) and many others to facilitate effective harmonisation of database,” he said.
Speaking also, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngigi, said the COVID-19 Pandemic had further impoverished Nigerians.
“We have 26.8 million people captured in the NSR and we are hoping to add 20 million people. With that level of progress, we are going to hit the 100 million mark without spending up to that 10 years,” Ngige said.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said that the NSR when socialised, would help his ministry to know the number of schools in every ward, Local Government Areas and states.
He admonished Nigerians to get their NIN because it could be used from primary school, secondary, tertiary institution till death.
Nwajiuba cited a case of a deputy governor-elect in one of the South-South regions of the country, who used different names at different stages of his educational pursuit and such affected the victory of the political party in the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Mr Apera Iorwa, the National Coordinator, NASSCO said about 15 per cent of unemployed youths were captured in the NSR.
Iorwa added that in the NSR, no fewer than 11 million Nigerians were without any form of education, adding that the NSR was a good tool for effective planning for all sphere of development in the country.
International partners and relevant stakeholders at the event pledged their support and commitment to NASSCO, ministry of humanitarian affairs and the NSR.