The World Bank has advised Nigeria to scale up its social investment programmes to address the large number of people living in extreme poverty.
The World Bank Country Director, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, said this on Friday at the inauguration of the Africa Social Safety Nets Report by the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office and World Bank, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Benmessaoud said that Nigeria spending less than three per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on social investments was not enough to fight against poverty, build human capital and spur economic growth.
He said the bank was in full support of the country’s social investments and that was why it helped to establish a social registry containing legitimate names of poor households in parts of the country.
He said the registry had helped the federal and state governments to reach genuine vulnerable people through different targeted intervention programmes like the conditional cash transfers.
However, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disagreed with the Social Safety Nets report, saying that Nigeria spends more than three per cent of GDP on social investments.
Ahmed said that the report did not take account of other social protection programmes such as pensions, health insurance and interventions that targets people living with disabilities.
“The report further reveals that West Africa has the highest number of Cash Transfer Programmes in Africa.
“The implication of this for us is that we must continue working towards a long time solution to poverty as cash transfers cannot be sustained.”
She added that the nation must have a long-term plan to build human capital and resilience of its people.