Nigeria govt, partners to strengthen social registry as single database for poverty reduction interventions

The Federal Government of Nigeria has confirmed working closely with development partners to strengthen the National Social Registry (NSR) to make it serve as a single database for poverty reduction interventions.

It said such interventions would be made by all stakeholders in policy and programme design.

Sen. George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), stated this in Abuja on Tuesday, during a policy dialogue on Nigeria’s poverty and vulnerability profile.

Akume was represented at the event by Mrs Esuabana Asanya, the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs, SGF’s office.

He explained that the move was to ensure that the social register reflects the true poverty and vulnerability profile in Nigeria that would support effective targeting of interventions.

The secretary to the government of the federation pointed out that poverty and vulnerability remain pressing challenges in the country, saying that the advent of the Coronavirus has aggravated the problem.

He said current data indicated that 63 per cent of Nigeria’s population “is multi-dimensionally poor”, of which about 70 per cent constituted children.

The SGF also said that Nigeria’s social inequalities further exacerbate the situation, as access to essential resources such as food, education, healthcare, and infrastructure was unevenly distributed.

“Women, children, and persons with disabilities are among the most vulnerable groups facing poverty, ill-health, and economic shocks.

“This setback emphasizes the urgency to strengthen our efforts in mitigating these issues and improving the lives of millions of Nigerians,” he said.

He said that the dialogue was organised by the Social Protection Development Partners group, in partnership with the Federal Government to find ways to address the challenge.

Akume said the primary objective was to develop a common understanding of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria and identify key indicators for measuring them, adding that the meeting was also to devise strategies that would strengthen the registry.

“At the end of the meeting, we will develop a shared understanding of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria among all relevant stakeholders, including government officials, civil society organisations, and development partners.

“This common understanding will pave the way for more coordinated and efficient policy design and programme implementation.

“The meeting will equally help us to identify key indicators for measuring poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria and how to align them with a nationally agreed measure.

“By establishing these indicators, we will enhance our ability to accurately assess poverty levels and progress over time that will lead to better-informed decision-making processes,” the SGF said.

He expressed optimism that the stakeholders would establish a comprehensive framework that accommodates various dimensions of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria.

This, according to him, will arm the government and stakeholders with the knowledge and strategic approach to design and implement effective poverty reduction and social protection policies and programmes.

“This is particularly crucial in our efforts to collectively address the critical development issues of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable populations,” he said.

Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, noted that understanding the nature and extent of poverty was vital in developing targeted interventions and strategies.

Sani-Gwarzo said that the registry captures community profiling, to establish paucity of social infrastructure and its interconnectedness with poverty and issues of access to social assistance.

“The NSR is the foundational database for the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria, and this is the first time we have developed such a valuable system.

“In the past few days, this database has come into sharp focus.

“The outcome of the workshop will provide valuable insights as to the ways to strengthen what we already have,” he said.