WASHINGTON, December 16, 2021 — The World Bank today approved an $800 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) for the National Social Safety Net Program Scale-Up (NASSP-SU). The credit will finance a significant expansion in the coverage of shock responsive safety net support for poor and vulnerable Nigerians under the existing National Social Safety Nets Program of the government and strengthen the national safety net delivery system.
The double-digit increase in prices, especially of food and essential commodities over the last year, at a time when incomes have been flat or declining, has pushed millions of Nigerians into poverty and reduced the welfare of many more. Additionally, multiple concurrent shocks, due to COVID-19 and climate, continue to plague the poor and vulnerable.
The approved credit will enable the Government of Nigeria to cushion the impact of these shocks on the population by financing the provision of targeted time-limited cash transfers to 8.2 million poor and vulnerable beneficiaries and their families, identified from the National Social Registry (NSR) in rural areas and the Rapid Response Registry (RRR) in urban areas. Additionally, it will also ensure that the about 2 million current poor and vulnerable beneficiaries of the regular cash transfer program under the NASSP continue to be supported for at least two years between the NASSP and the recently approved NASSP-SU. The project will strengthen the national safety net delivery system to ensure timely support to the beneficiaries and enhance its shock-responsiveness.
“At a time when millions of ordinary Nigerians are grappling with economic challenges, we are happy to be able to support the government in providing continued support to the poorest and most vulnerable citizens to help build their resilience and ability to weather the multiple concurrent shocks of COVID-19, inflation, and climate change,” said Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria. “By strengthening the ability of government to deliver cash transfers robustly through digital payment platforms, the credit will also enhance financial inclusion, particularly among women, thereby reducing the significant and persistent gender gap that exists in accessing various economic, social, and financial services in Nigeria.”
The financing will also help to improve the management of data and information systems, strengthen the partnership between states and the federal government in the delivery of social assistance, and leverage the ongoing policy dialogue and operational coordination mechanisms of key development partners supporting Nigeria’s efforts to strengthen social protection for her citizens.
“The NASSP-SU will build on the innovative mobile technology and big-data aided Rapid Response Registry approach and the expansion of the National Social Registry developed by the existing NASSP. It will also leverage recent improvements in digital payments system in the country to effectively deliver payment to beneficiaries to promptly respond to the recent and ongoing effect of high inflation,” said Muderis Abdulahi Mohammed, Task Team Leader, Word Bank. “This project is expected to meet the urgent needs of vulnerable Nigerians and build a shock responsive safety net system that can help adapt to future climate and other shocks. The project will contribute to households securing basic needs, diversifying livelihoods, and investing in human capital.”
The approved credit reflects the Government’s increased investments in social protection to help the poor and the vulnerable. It builds on the NASSP, approved in June 2016, which was designed to contribute to the Government’s vision of lifting over 100 million poor and vulnerable Nigerians out of poverty. In 2017, a National Social Protection Policy (NSPP) Framework was adopted, which seeks to establish a minimum social protection floor for all Nigerian citizens with the aim to reduce poverty among the poor and vulnerable, empower the poor and vulnerable people, and protect individuals and households from economic shocks. The NASSP-SU facility will also draw lessons from other programs in Nigeria, such as the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES), and from other countries with similar and relevant experience.