FG’s $5bn social welfare benefits just 6% – NBS

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Only 6.1% of Nigerian households are aware of and have benefited from social support programs meant to fight poverty and promote inclusion, according to a 2022 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS).

Only 6.1 percent of the 39,632 households that were interviewed for the survey by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2021 as part of the Global MICS Programme were aware of and had received outside financial or social transfers.

This suggests that 37,214 households, or nearly 94 percent, have not received any kind of social transfer.

According to the survey results, Jigawa, Yobe, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, and Katsina had the highest responses, with 14.4 percent, 14.1 percent, 13.5 percent, 12.3 percent, and 10.9 percent respectively. The least aware states were Ogun (2.1 percent), Benue (2.7 percent), Lagos (3.2 percent), Oyo (3.2 percent), and Osun (3.3 percent).

“Most times, government interventions or programs are not well-targeted. Although they might have designed and implemented several programs, however, these programs do not reach the people directly in need of them,” Damilola Adewale, a Lagos-based economic analyst, said.

He added that another concern is the lack of openness in how program beneficiaries are chosen. Because of the corruption in the process, the programs’ effects on the most disadvantaged members of society are minimal or nonexistent.

This, according to Adewale, explains why there is a discrepancy between the government’s various interventions and the actual data on important development measures like unemployment and poverty.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) defines social transfers or external economic support as predictable direct transfers to individuals or households, both in-kind and cash (including cash for work and public work programs), to protect and prevent individuals and households from being affected by shock and support the accumulation of individuals’ and households’ human, productive, and financial assets. This includes a variety of social protection schemes.

Under the National Social Investment Programme, numerous social welfare intervention projects have been developed since President Muhammadu Buhari took office in 2015.

The household upliftment program, “BETA DON COME”, retirement pensions, trader moni and farmer moni, the Survival Fund, Anchor Borrower, health insurance cards, and any other types of ad hoc support, excluding transfers or assistance from family, relatives, or neighbors, are just a few of the programs in Nigeria.

In a recent study, researchers at FSDH Research found that the majority of Nigerians who are poor and vulnerable are not served by many government-led intervention initiatives due to weak social infrastructure, a lack of funding, and labor requirements.

“Some government agencies work in silos and there are often limited partnerships between the federal and state governments in designing and implementing social programs,” they said.

The biggest economy in Africa is vulnerable to the pandemic’s economic effects since there are no working, inclusive social support programs, especially for the most disadvantaged members of society.

In 2020, the COVID-19 issue and the Saudi Arabia-Russia oil war, which caused a dramatic decline in oil prices, caused the economy to enter its second recession in five years.

According to the World Bank’s ‘Nigeria Poverty Assessment 2022’ assessment, many non-poor Nigerians “are only one small shock away from falling into poverty,” while others who are currently poor could be driven into even greater hardship.

According to the report, the COVID-19 problem increased the poverty rate in the nation and will result in the plight of an additional five million people by 2022.

According to the NBS, 133 million Nigerians lived in multidimensional poverty in 2018, whereas 82.9 million were deemed poor by national standards in 2019.

According to Ayodele Akinwunm of FSDH Merchant Bank, it will be challenging for the government to integrate poor and unemployed individuals in social safety nets as long as their numbers continue to rise.

“We need to ensure that we have the right and adequate investment environment for people to go back to their businesses and jobs. So that the social security programs will now augment the programs of the actual investments that we have on the ground,” he said.

Buhari had said in June 2019 that his government could lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

“For the next four years, we will remain committed to improving the lives of people by consolidating efforts to address these key issues as well as emerging challenges of climate change, resettling displaced communities and dealing decisively with the new flashes of insecurity across the country, and the impacts on food scarcity and regional stability,” he said during the inaugural June 12 Democracy Day celebration.

The Conditional Cash Transfer program, according to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, will provide N5,000 per month to 1.6 million households in Nigeria in 2020. According to the report, women receive 98 percent of all benefits on behalf of their families and households.

The president reiterated his pledge to emancipate 100 million Nigerians from poverty in ten years as he established the National Steering Committee of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy in 2021.

He has asserted that in the previous two years, his administration had effectively moved 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty.

According to Sadiya Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, the Federal Government has spent more than $5 billion fighting poverty in the nation since 2016.

The World Bank estimates that Nigeria spends 0.28 percent of GDP overall on social assistance programs, but only seven percent of the population gets served. This is a low percentage when compared to South Africa (3.31%), Benin (2.95%), Rwanda (1.5%), and Ghana (0.58%).

According to the report, the most populous country in Africa needs over $18.7 billion a year to combat its rising rates of poverty.

“The poverty gap index for Nigeria is 0.129, so vast resources are required to eliminate poverty in the country, especially in rural areas. Multiplying the poverty gap index by the poverty line and by Nigeria’s population shows that eliminating poverty would take almost N3.7 trillion per year (or $18.7 billion),” it said.

Analysts of FSDH added that Nigeria needs to develop and implement a comprehensive National Social Inclusion Strategy (NSIS) that prioritises the social welfare of its citizens.

“An inclusion strategy will ensure all social interventions are aligned with the broader developmental goal of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the medium term.

“A good starting point for the development of the NSIS is the revised National Social Protection Policy which represents the policy framework for social interventions in the country,” it said.

 

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