During a meeting convened by Vice President Kashim Shettima at the Council Chambers of the State House in Abuja on Thursday, the National Economic Council (NEC) made the decision to discard the national social register due to concerns over its credibility.
The social register, established during the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari, served as a database containing information about potential beneficiaries for various social assistance programs initiated by the government.
Attended by governors from all 36 states, representatives from the World Bank, and other government agencies, the meeting resulted in a unanimous agreement that states should now develop their own registers, utilizing both formal and informal methods.
According to Chukwuma Soludo, the Governor of Anambra, this approach will enable all beneficiaries to be easily identified and managed at the subnational level, thereby enhancing the transparency and effectiveness of social assistance programs in Nigeria.
“We need to face the problem of the fact that we don’t have a credible register,” he said.
The Anambra governor said NEC deliberated on ways to cushion the impact of the recent removal of the petrol subsidy.
He added that the council agreed on the need for payment of outstanding liabilities of public servants, including pensions and gratuities, to alleviate their hardships.
According to Soludo, the council also agreed that the government will focus on funding micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with single-digit interest rates to support business growth.
The council proposed the implementation of a cash transfer programme for states based on their peculiarities and a cash reward policy for public servants for six months.
The gathering also agreed on the distribution of food items grains and fertilisers by state governments at the rate acquired from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) as part of measures to cushion the effects of subsidy removal on Nigerians.
In 2016, the federal government established the national social investments programme (NSIP) to “tackle poverty and hunger” across the country.
For the take-off of the programme, the government had directed the immediate release of N25 billion.
For its implementation, a national social register was created, comprising names of poor people and households across the country.