Post-lockdown: Nigeria to expand scope of SIP, prioritises informal sector

As Nigeria begins to gradually open up the economy after about a month of lockdown on some states, the government is considering support to the informal sector a priority, expanding its Social Intervention Programme, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The VP reportedly made this disclosure while speaking in a webinar organised by on how Africa’s informal sector reacts to COVID-19.

According to his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the vice president said the informal sector would be considered a priority, adding that the Federal Government was working at expanding its social investment policies.

Osinbajo is quoted to have said, “Perhaps, we have the advantage of being able to manage our problems in smaller measures, or by dividing them. Of course, we run a federation, which means that Governor Nasir el-Rufai could do some very excellent work there in Kaduna; Lagos could do some excellent work; Ogun and others could do some excellent works.

“But of course, by the very nature of this pandemic, it also means that you run the risk of everything going south, if some states are not doing as well as they ought to. I think in the end, we have the advantage that we are able to almost isolate responses, and even look at best practices across the various states and try to ramp up wherever we find that there are deficiencies.

“We have done a lot on conditional cash transfers, especially within the context of our social investment policies. But we are now looking at how to possibly enlarge the scope of that and do more.”

The government, the professor added, was looking beyond using cash transfers as if it were some incentive for staying at home. “We are trying to see whether this can address some of the problems of increasing poverty that we are likely to find now given the disruptions in the economy.”

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