National Coordinator of the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), Mr Apera Iorwa, has said that no fewer than seven million poor and vulnerable households nationwide, or 30 million individuals, had been registered between 2018 and February, 2021.
Iorwa, who stated this in an interview with newsmen, on Sunday, in Abuja, stressed that the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, was, therefore, both realistic and achievable.
He said NASSCO started with about 350,000 poor and vulnerable households in the National Social Register (NSR), in 2018, and by February 2021, the NSR had recorded about seven million poor and vulnerable households across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, equivalent to 30 million registered individuals, he said.
“However, our target is 100 million in 10 years. President Buhari made the pronouncement in 2019 and in 2021 we have 30 million in our database, that can be reached today with any form of help to push them out of poverty.
“The Federal Government is already paying about two million people, under the Conditional Cash Transfer Initiative. The government is also giving some people from the NSR menial jobs.
“If we address the 30 million Nigerians currently in the NSR now, we can get them out of poverty in the next two years.
“The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, sold the idea to her colleagues that in poverty alleviation programmes in agriculture, health, education and others, the NSR could be used,” Iorwa said.
According to him, the information about these 30 million individuals, in terms of their names, sex, age, residential address, jobs, economy status, and disability had been perfectly captured in the NSR.
Iorwa said this was done to enable the government plan effectively, to support them via different intervention programmes, citing the current cash transfer to these poor and vulnerable households across the country by the government as having recorded many successes.
He identified one of the success stories in Kwara, where women beneficiaries of the cash transfer programme contributed monies, out of what government was giving them, to build a community primary school.
The NASSCO coordinator explained that the database could be used as a baseline, to evaluate the level of progress to which the government was impacting on the lives of the people.
“So, it is very possible to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years when concerted efforts are made towards a robust system, to identify these people and keep them where government can have access to them”.
Iorwa stressed that the NSR was an information gateway for all potential beneficiaries, adding that UN Agencies and other bodies, now use the NSR to render help to the poor and vulnerable.
“For example, UN Women is helping widows and single mothers. They got their data from the NSR.
“The truth is UN, EU, UNICEF, WFP, and many others, have confidence in what we are doing as a country to address poverty and they have commenced the use of the NSR to implement their programmes in the country.
“So, we are very confident and optimistic that our target of lifting 100 million Nigerians from poverty will be achieved,” Iorwa said.