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An analysis of fiscal space for social protection in Nigeria

Research reports

Written by Jessica Hagen-Zanker

This report identifies the potential fiscal space for social protection in Nigeria. It forms part of a wider study that examines social protection provision in the country, intended to support the government in strengthening social security and social assistance and to assist the government’s development partners in advancing a forward agenda for social protection in Nigeria.

In general terms, fiscal space refers to the availability of additional resources for increasing government expenditure, without prejudicing the sustainability of the government’s financial position.

Social protection encompasses a range of actions that seek to address risk and vulnerability among poor and near-poor households, as well as programmes to maintain income standards. In Nigeria, there is no clear distinction between social protection and poverty alleviation policies  and poor data availability means that it is difficult to measure social protection expenditure. Nevertheless, this report attempts to measure past financial support for social protection and, through this, to assess the potential fiscal space for social protection activities going forward.

The reports states that the greatest scope for increasing fiscal space for pro-poor social protection is via i) mobilisation of domestic resources, ii) possible increases in aid targeted specifically at social protection and iii) improving the public financial management of public expenditure.

Jessica Hagen-Zanker and Heidi Tavakoli