One of the social protection frameworks established by the Federal Government to achieve the present administration agenda of uplifting 100 million Nigerian out of poverty by 2030 is the National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP), established in 2016 with a strategic objective of providing access to targeted cash transfer to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded social safety nets system. 

 National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO) was designated as coordinating project implementation unit to establish the building blocks for social safety nets systems, coordinate all social safety nets programmes, ensure policy cohesion and build the National Social Register of Poor and Vulnerable Households in Nigeria.

To actualize its core mandates, NASSCO entered memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with federal agencies and states governments, notably our collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the conduct of 2018/2019 the National Living Standard Survey (NLSS), and Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Survey, which findings have been instrumental to our work in reconstructing the Proxy Means Test (PMT) coefficient, redefining our poverty mapping and strategic communications/engagement with stakeholders on poverty question. The collaboration with 36 states and the FCT resulted the establishment of the building blocks for social protection and NASSP operations.

To provide access to poor and vulnerable households, NASSCO established targeting and identification guidelines that are geared towards ensuring the most deprived poor and vulnerable Nigerians are targeted and enumerated into the National Social Register or its sub-registers without breaching quality standards and adherence to do no harm principles of engagement. These guidelines formed the foundation of building the states and national social registers.

The National Social Register (NSR) of Poor and Vulnerable Households (PVHHs) is an aggregate of the State Social Registers- an information system that support outreach, intake, registration, and determination of potential eligibility for one or more social programs”. The NSR provides a “gateway” for potential inclusion of intended populations into social programs.  NASSCO uses a hybrid of targeting mechanisms to build the Social Register: first, is the geographical targeting, otherwise referred to as poverty mapping – used to identify and select the poorest Local Governments (LGAs) in the state, and second, is the community-based targeting (CBT) approach, which engages community members to define poverty  and  identify poor and vulnerable households within their communities that fit the profile of their definition.

The NSR, is interoperable and compatible with the database of all other government database systems. It is today the largest database of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. As of September 30th, 2022 the number of PVHHs stands at 12,828,135 and 52,838,729 individuals covering 128,249 communities, across over 8,000 wards, in 737 LGAs of 36 states and the FCT. This is just short of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria (by 37 LGAs) to achieve full saturation.

The highest data turned-in was recorded during Covid -19 pandemic lockdown, when Mr. President directed the project to fast-track the process of getting more PVHHs onboard across the country to enable states and federal government provide relief materials and palliatives to poor and vulnerable households. This directive gave birth to the abridge CBT process and technology driven rapid response register protocols.

Considering the fragility, conflict, and insecurity that affects many parts of the country, the project uses an adaptive approach to data collection in dealing with shocks and other man-made disaster. In the  early days of the insurgency  in the North-East, which  threw up many internally displaced persons, the project built and adapted the Host Community Based Identification (HCBI) approach where Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and vulnerable people in the North-East were identified and registered into  unified register of beneficiaries (URB) – which can be used for any household and/or individual based social safety intervention(s).The rapid response register developed during Covid – 19 pandemic served as a gateway to almost one million Nigerians that benefited from the Ministry’s Covid – 19 cash transfer  which targeted informal sector urban dwellers affected by the lockdown.

NASSCO would continue to introduce technological innovations that can improve traditional community-based targeting (CBT), HCBI, RRR and abridge CBT approaches to ensure no one is left behind, our community and stakeholders’ participation ensures social accountability and citizens engagement.  Similarly, sustainability and ownership of the systems, the project relies on building capacity at the state and local governments.