We have database of 15m poor Nigerians, says agency

According to a report by The Nation, the Federal Government has a database of 15 million poor and vulnerable Nigerians, one of its agencies said yesterday.

According to the agency, the 12 million households with a combined population of 60 million people, to benefit from the transfer of N8,000 per household per month for six months.

It will serve as palliative for petrol subsidy withdrawal. The number will be sourced from the agency’s database.

The money to be shared is the $800  million World Bank facility tied to transfer to the poor to assist them cushion the effects of the hardship arising from the petrol subsidy removal.

The National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO) yesterday explained how it sourced the data, and how it will reach the beneficiaries of the money.

NASSCO added that the process of generating the database, which commenced in 2016,  currently has details of 15 million poor people on its National Social Register (NSR).

The $800 million  World Bank facility for  NASSP  Scale Up, will be transferred using the database.

It added that out of the 15 million poor people on its register, only four million have bank accounts.

NASSCO, however,  stated that the 11 million without accounts would be sensitised to update their information in its database so that the money can be transferred to them. 

Communications Manager of NASSCO, Joe Abuku, spoke during an interview with The Nation in Abuja.

How the money will be distributed

Abuku said: “The transfers will be done directly to the bank accounts and mobile wallets of eligible beneficiaries through payment service providers under the platform of the National Cash Transfer Office.

“The beneficiaries will be mined from the National Social Register (NSR). The National Social Register holds the database of poor and vulnerable households across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“The overall process of identification and registration (called targeting) is managed under the supervision of the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO).

“The National Social Register already has 15 million households which is more than the 12 million the NASSP Scale Up is designed to reach.

“Each state quota is locked to ensure that no State benefits more than its fair share. The quota for each state is calculated proportionate to its poverty headcount and the inflation rate. The distribution of the quota allocation also takes into consideration the urban and rural dwellers, and the level of effects due to the subsidy removal.

“While the NSR would serve as the source of data for the benefit distribution, a proportion of the Urban dwellers will be identified through a targeting process that enables them to apply for assistance by responding to SMS prompts using a USSD platform accessible via mobile phones.

“Once their applications are received for processing and they undergo a validation process, involving a visit to their residence for authentication to establish that they genuinely qualify for assistance, they will be eligible to access this intervention.”

Abuku added that NASSCO has already designed and tested this technology base approach for the registration of categorical targets called the Rapid Response Register (RRR).

“The RRR currently has about 3 million validated urban poor across the 36 states   Categorical targeting is suitable for the identification of new population groups for any social assistance program directed at specific interest groups.

“Most households to benefit from this programme already have bank accounts.  Households without a bank account will access their transfers by way of mobile wallets.

“Nonetheless, once potential beneficiaries without bank accounts have been identified, they have an opportunity to approach any bank to open their bank accounts and revert to the project with their banking details.”

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