National expansion of social registry costs $2.2 million – Report

The federal government spent $2.2 million to expand and verify the National Social Registry, set up to administer cash transfers and another social investment program, according to a World Bank report.

In naira terms, the government spent N3.2 billion using the January 2024 exchange rate of N1,455.

It also allocated a total of $169,565 to expand the Rapid Response Registry, established to distribute palliatives.

The Conditional Cash Transfer Programme is part of the Federal Government’s National Social Investment Programme, a project designed to transform the lives of millions of Nigerians living in extreme poverty, raise their living standards and improve the economy.

The new information was revealed in a document on the public procurement strategy of the National Social Safety Network Scale-up Project, which our correspondent received on Wednesday.

Last year, the government launched a review of the social registry to ensure it is accessible to all Nigerians.

The existing social register, prepared by the previous administration, was heavily criticized by influential officials for its lack of credibility.

The national economic council, chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima, in deciding to update the register, ordered the suspended Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Beta Edu, to conduct the review.

The audit included removing deceased beneficiaries from the register and disqualifying those who did not have a national identification number and bank verification number.

The NEC also agreed that individual countries should establish their own registries using formal and informal means.

The budget line entitled “Extension of Rapid Response Register – Household Validation with reference number: NASSCO-381483-CS-QCBS/” has been declared as being under implementation.

The report also indicated that an amount of $195,652.00 was allocated to engage the NASSP National External Monitoring Unit and an amount of $96,833 to engage the National Coordinator and Deputy National Coordinator of the Nigeria Community Security Coordination Office.

The funding was obtained through an $800 million palliative loan from the World Bank to help mitigate the effects of recent government policies, such as the removal of fuel subsidies.

The NASSP-SU project, which aims to provide a crisis-responsive safety net support to the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria, was approved on 16 December 2021 and came into effect on 30 January 2023. The assistance will benefit three million poor and vulnerable households.

With this loan, the federal government plans to launch a monthly cash transfer programme to poor and needy Nigerians who have been hit hard by recent measures such as the removal of fuel subsidies.

However, the programme was abruptly halted following an investigation into alleged irregularities in the management of the programme by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the Fight against Poverty.