Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development

10m more Nigerians may descend into poverty by end of 2021 ─Minister

*The Federal Government reveals 82.9 million Nigerians already living below the poverty line in the country as of 2019

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The far-reaching impacts impact of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the country, the Federal Government has disclosed that 10 million more Nigerians may descend into poverty by the end of this year.

Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, stated this Tuesday, February 16, in Abuja, FCT, at the ministerial dialogue on the National Social Register.

Other participants in the programme are Minister of Women Affairs Pauline Tallen, Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of State Education Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and Minister of Youth and Sport Sunday Dare.

Farouq, quoting statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said 82.9 million Nigerians were already living below the poverty line as at 2019.

It is believed that the poverty figure might have increased due to economic hardship caused by the outbreak of the disruptive Coronavirus.

The minister noted that 26.8 million poor and vulnerable individuals, which is equivalent to about 6.3 million households, have been captured thus far.

“In 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics estimated that 40.2% (equivalent to 82.9 million) Nigerians live below the poverty line on less than one dollar ninety cents (US$1.9), and another 10 million were expected to fall below the poverty as a result of the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 by the end of the year,” said Hajiya Farouq.

Regarding the register, she said: “As of January 31, 2021, out of the estimated 82.9 million (40.2 per cent) Nigerians living below the poverty line, we have identified and registered 26.8 million poor and vulnerable individuals, equivalent to about 6.3 million households in our country.

“We are expecting another 20 million to be added to the database and held in the Rapid Response Register; a shock responsive intervention register, specifically targetted at urban informal workers impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

Farouq further stated: “The social register has coverage across the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT. We are in 601 local government areas (LGAs) out of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria.

“We have covered 7,320 wards and 72,363 communities. This structure automatically provides the biggest database for any social inclusion or social protection intervention.”

As regards what the register specifically contains, the Minister noted: “The data points in the social register capture personal information, such as names, age, gender, location (whether rural or urban, names of community, ward, local government and state), geo-coordinate, level of education, vocation, employment status, disability status, ID numbers, phone numbers and addresses.

“This type of information is essential to facilitate administration of benefits to eligible households, prevent fraud and allow contact tracing of households to process updates, resolve discrepancies or determine movement across socio-economic status.”

She added: “The information also allows tracking of coverage, data update, number and types of programmes served or benefitted.

“We also have information on community profiles gathered through community asset assessment such as social amenities available, infrastructure, accessibility; roads, electricity, schools, hospitals and banking information.

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