Friday, July 26, 2019 / 1.00PM / Nifemi Taiyese for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV
With billions of naira spent in the past three years in the Social Intervention Program of the Federal government, there is still a major concern over lifting 112million Nigerians out of poverty.
Nigeria, according to the World Bank and Oxfam reports, has experienced rising social and economic inequality with a large number of Nigerian citizens trapped in a belt of extreme poverty.
In a recent interview with Proshare WebTV, the Chief Operating Officer, Policy Management for the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, NESG, Dr. Tayo Aduloju said that the consortium which formed the Policy Innovation Unit has worked with the National Social Investment Program for the last two years.
He noted that the issue of scale is important when discussing the issue of the widening local poverty gap; in absolute terms, 92 million Nigerians suffer from extreme poverty. The size of extreme poverty in the country has meant that the problem requires incremental solutions in social, economic and political different areas.
Aduloju was of the view that increased digital penetration should be adopted to addressing the social concerns and issues in terms of uptake of compliance programs and impact programs.
According to Aduloju, what this does is that it allows partners to deploy broad-based capabilities for designing policy and programs in line with a deep understanding of human behaviour to achieve better performance.
Speaking on the next phase, Aduloju said what will play out are embedded PIU units in Nigeria that will allow the group to drive the numbers where they matter because reaching 2 million people out of 90 million makes a difference but doesn’t change the huge narrative on the top-line numbers.
He believes the NSIP as a program needs to undergo some redesign to become more effective.
Aduloju noted that the program fits into the microeconomic interventions, which does not necessarily change the macroeconomic environment.
The NESG Policy COO argued that the future application of behavioural science would include application to macroeconomic issues, country level, industry level shifts and changes beyond microeconomic applications to targeted interventions.
The Nigerian Policy Innovation Unit was set up to provide behavioural science testing design analytics to improve the national social investment programs.
According to Aduloju, the concept was for every program designed to have an impact by their nature, but the capacity to continually improve programs leveraging evidence-based analytics that takes into account human decision-making behaviour.
The PIU chief gave examples such as the why people would be willing to pay taxes, the why people would want to access credit, the why people would comply with the terms of a government program or policy.
The first phase of the PIU work, which is more of a pilot project, allows the group test and prove that behavioural science makes a difference and from the results presented people can see that the application of the testings’ and approaches lead to incremental improvement in the performance of programs.
In speaking to the next phase of the project, involving the upgrading of behavioural science applications to reach the scale of the problems, such as smallholder farmers that need access to credit and smallholder women farmers that suffer credit exclusion, the PIU is deepening engagement with the SIP.
PIU’s boss was of the view that the country needs to apply vaccine penetration and digital penetration and a whole range of social concerns and issues in terms of uptake of programs, compliance programs and impact of programs. What this does is that it allows partners to deploy their broad-based capability to the understanding of human behaviour, designing of policy and administering programs.
The next phase, Aduloju notes, will involve the embedding of PIU units in Nigeria that will allow the group to drive the numbers where they matter because reaching 2 million people out of 90 million makes a difference but doesn’t change the huge narrative in the top-line numbers. So that really is what the initiative is about and what the support has been for.
The NSIU as a program needs to undergo some redesign; part of the process it has gone through is identifying the aspects of the program that needs a redesign.
Speaking on the new cabinet formed by President Buhari, he said: “ It is important they form quickly and get ahead with the business of governance as 5.4 persons in Nigeria go into poverty every minute when no action is adopted”.
According to the PIU’s chief executive, there needs to be a sense of urgency to settle down and get going with the business of governance.
Aduloju expects the cabinet to drive trade volume and competitiveness as the AFCTA has just been signed and needs ratification, domestication and implementation.
Speaking on jobs, Aduloju said that the Labour Ministry alongside the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and other key economic agencies will need to focus on expanding growth and attracting larger capital flows to critical sectors of the economy.