The Federal Government has announced that it would inaugurate a COVID-19 Rapid Response Register (RRR), which would be a health emergency response for the poor living in urban centers that have been affected by the pandemic.
This was disclosed by Mr. Joe Abuku, Communications Manager, National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), on Sunday in Abuja.
Mr. Abuku said the register would identify Nigerians that have been made poorer due to the pandemic, targeting mainly Traders and SME Owners.
He added that the scheme was designed by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, through NASSCO, in partnership with the World Bank, and will be inaugurated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
What Joe Abuku is saying
- “This register is being built by NASSCO as an expansion of the existing National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP). It targets small business owners, street vendors, petty traders, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and service providers.
- “Others are low wage employed individuals and families, including daily wage-based laborers, urban poor and destitute (persons with disabilities), and vulnerable families in slum areas, affected by the pandemic.
- “The category of Nigerians who will be in this register is typically the urban/semi-urban poor engaged in the informal sectors of the economy, who lost their source of livelihood due to the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and jobs. The Federal Government plans to extend cash transfers to households in this register for a period of 12 months.”
He also stated that NASSCO would use geographical satellite sensing to locale the wards where the urban poor live, as the targeting of the poor would be done via cell phone Short Messaging Service (SMS) technology that allows residents of targeted communities register to be assisted by following simple steps using USSD codes.
The SMS approach would be integrated through data gathered by the National Living Standard Survey Assessments and would be complemented by existing databases of Non-Governmental Organisations and local self-help-support groups.
- “Mobile phone numbers of those deemed eligible for assistance will be linked to digitized bank accounts to receive cash support, under an expanded cash transfer program of the Federal Government. These cash payments are designed to boost consumption for these households, build their resilience, and in some cases, inject fresh capital into small businesses.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported last year that the World Bank said the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic could make an additional 5 million Nigerians poor.
- The Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2020 by the World Bank Group indicate that between 88 million and 115 million people could fall back into extreme poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This is in addition to an increase between 23 million and 35 million in 2021, potentially bringing the total number of new people living in extreme poverty to between 110 million and 150 million.