The Political Economy of Social Protection Policy Uptake in Nigeria

Authors: Aiyede, E., Sha, P., Haruna, B., Olutayo, A., Ogunkola, E. and Best, E.
Year: 2015
Type: Grantee publication – working paper

None of the recent efforts to study social protection in Nigeria have provided a detailed description of the political economy factors that enhance and prevent the uptake of social protection policies. This study used qualitative and quantitative strategies within a political economy framework to explore the emergence and trajectory of these policies. Primary data were derived from field interviews and a survey of beneficiaries in six states selected from the six geopolitical zones in the country.

There is no overarching policy on social protection in Nigeria currently. There are pilot programmes led by the federal government and other programmes implemented in an ad hoc manner at state level. Political differences and competition between the state and federal governments have partly accounted for the slow pace in adoption of social assistance programmes. An uptake in social protection may occur only if the political leadership is convinced that it is sustainable and would enhance their political fortune.

Social assistance needs to be carried out within the context of a larger social policy framework, and knowledge about social assistance programmes needs to be diffused across all sectors. The federal government and international organisations have to promote a policy network community and support meaningful evaluation of the existing programmes to make citizens and policy stakeholders appreciate social assistance as an effective instrument of poverty alleviation and social transformation.


Key words: Social protection, social assistance, poverty alleviation, political economy, cash transfers

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