The Federal Government of Nigeria has unveiled its plan to distribute monthly palliatives worth N8,000 per household to alleviate the impact of petrol subsidy removal. According to the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), the initiative aims to support 12 million households, totaling 60 million individuals, selected from a comprehensive database of 15 million impoverished and vulnerable Nigerians.
To facilitate the distribution of the $800 million World Bank facility, NASSCO will utilize its National Social Register (NSR), which has been compiled since 2016. The NSR contains detailed information on the 15 million impoverished individuals and households across the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). However, out of the 15 million registered, only four million have existing bank accounts.
In response to this challenge, NASSCO plans to sensitize the remaining 11 million individuals to update their information in the database, enabling them to receive the monetary aid. Joe Abuku, Communications Manager of NASSCO, stated that transfers will be conducted directly to the bank accounts and mobile wallets of eligible beneficiaries through payment service providers under the National Cash Transfer Office platform.
The distribution process will be meticulously organized to ensure fairness among the states. Each state’s quota will be calculated based on poverty headcount, inflation rate, and the impact of the subsidy removal. Urban dwellers, who form a significant portion of the beneficiaries, will have the opportunity to apply for assistance via SMS prompts using a USSD platform accessible through mobile phones. After their applications undergo validation, including an authentication visit to their residences, eligible individuals will gain access to the intervention.
In addition, NASSCO has developed the Rapid Response Register (RRR), a technology-based approach for registering categorical targets. With approximately 3 million validated urban poor individuals across the 36 states, this system proves effective for identifying new population groups requiring social assistance.
Abuku emphasized that most households selected for the program already possess bank accounts, while those without accounts can receive transfers through mobile wallets. Furthermore, individuals without bank accounts will be encouraged to approach any bank to open an account and provide their banking details to participate in the initiative.
The distribution of palliatives aims to provide relief to vulnerable Nigerians affected by the withdrawal of petrol subsidies. With the meticulous use of databases and targeting mechanisms, the government aims to ensure that the funds are efficiently allocated to those who need them the most.
Source: The Nation Online Nigeria
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