After many months of uncertainty and stagnation in the Nigerian economy, there is at least one positive news coming out.
If things go the way they are planned out, Nigeria might be pulling out of a recession-prone economy.
The federal government has just announced a NGN 500 billion social investment program. Just like the social security in the US where the indigent, unemployed and vulnerable population are giving a safety net, the Nigerian government is about to implement one of the biggest social program in Africa.
Under the scheme, over 8 million people will be captured. First is a direct payment of N5,000 monthly to one million extremely poor Nigerians for 12 months as provided for in the 2016 budget for which NGN 68.7 billion. Soft loan for about 1.76million informal traders (mostly women) up to the tune of NGN 140.3 billion. The government plans to pay NGN 23,000 to NGN 30,000 per month to 500,000 undergoing training. This will be executed alongside training of about 100,000 artisans. About 5.5 million school children will be fed for over 200 academic days, this will cost the government about NGN 93.1 billion. Lastly, 100,000 tertiary students in Science Technology Engineering & Maths will get educational grants to study in various universities. This will be carried out with a total budget of NGN 5.8 billion.
This move portends a lot of positives for the marketing and advertising community. Demographically, beneficiaries in this social programme represent three major segments of the market- women, children, and youths.
Many women will have to buy various FMCG products to take care of their families are at the centre of the programme. As a result of the rural penetration of the programme, many brands looking for new markets can seize the opportunity to enter newer territories.
Youths are majorly represented in the scheme. Because many of them will be paid during their trainings, brands with youths as their primary target audience might need to restrategise. Lifestyle, connectivity and enabler brands have something serious to benefit. Financial, telecoms and eCommerce service providers will need to look at how they can cash in on these opportunities. Many of these beneficiaries will need bank accounts, perhaps buy their first smartphones, they will need data to connect directly to the Internet for the first time.
Nigerians are already feeling the pinch of the subsidy removal but brands with savvy planning can benefit from plans to reduce the after effect of the harsh economic condition.
First published in NextGen a newsletter of SBI Media Limited