*FGN moves to sustain Social Protection Initiative

Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment Mrs. Maryam Uwais says the Federal Government is in the process of building a National Social Register (NSR), which contains a comprehensive and reliable database of poor and Vulnerable households across the country.

She said the NSR which can be desegregated into age, gender, disability, educational levels, etc for proper planning of social intervention programs at the National, State and Local Government levels, would also be available for 3rd parties who intend to utilize the information therein for research and philanthropic activities.

Delivering the keynote address at the 14th Anti-corruption situation room forum organized by the Human Environment Development Agenda (HEDA) on Tuesday in Maiduguri, Borno State, North East Nigeria, Mrs Uwais also gave a hint about ongoing efforts to develop a Consolidated Beneficiary Register CBR comprising data collated from all the four components of the Social intervention program of the Federal Government.

The Presidential aide, who was represented by Sola Afolayan, the Monitoring and Evaluation Manager at the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), said the CBR is being developed to facilitate visibility, tracking and measurement of the impact and growth of each beneficiary across all the National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP).

She told the forum that the identification efforts are being spearheaded by the National Social Safety-Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO) to develop an authentic database of poor and vulnerable households through Poverty Mapping, Community Based Targeting and a Proxy Means Test on devices provided for the process.

According to her, all beneficiaries of the National Cash Transfer Programme are mined from the Social Register:

“As at September 10th 2019, there were 1,349,517 poor and vulnerable households, comprising 5,483,531 individuals captured on the NSR across 32 States, while the process for enumeration and identification has commenced in the remaining States and at various stages of completion. NASSCO is also engaged in collating information relating to nearest primary and secondary schools, payment service providers, primary healthcare agencies, access roads, power and network reception, in all the communities it engages”

Mrs Uwais, who harped on the need for Nigeria to leverage on the huge successes recorded so far in the execution of the SIPs to effectively wage the war on poverty in the country for rapid economic growth, said plans are underway to sustain the programme which has given a new lease of life to millions of poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

“A draft law has been prepared along with a 5-year Road Map, which documents are being considered before finalization.

Efforts are also underway to explore feasible sources of funding, for a sustained and concerted impact to ensure the strategic reduction of poverty and unemployment, within the constraints of restricted funding and unlimited population growth”

Chairman of the occasion, Professor Sadiq Isa Raddah, described corruption as the bane of Nigeria’s development, stressing that the fight against the illicit practice is a collective task that must be done for the country to make meaningful progress.

Professor Raddah said efforts are being intensified by government to repatriate more of the “Abachaloot” and other stolen Nigerian funds stashed away in foreign accounts abroad.

He said such funds when returned, would be well utilised to finance people oriented projects such as the National Social Investment Programme.

The forum which has as its theme: Increasing Transparency and Participation in the implementation of the Social Investment Programmes provides a platform for public accountability in the utilization of funds budgeted and released for the SIPs.

Participants were drawn from Civil Society Organizations CSOs, Non Governmental Organizations NGOs, Labour Unions, Religious Organizations, Anti-Corruption Agencies, Women Groups, National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Media as well as Beneficiaries of the N-SIP.

Justice Tienabeso Bibiye
Communications Manager, National Social Investment Office (NSIO)

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