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The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has committed to focus on implementing a special Social Investment Programme (SIP) aimed at restoring livelihoods, economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor. The National Social Intervention Office (NSIO) was set up to coordinate this policy priority of government following the 2015 general election.

To ensure that set targets are achieved effectively, efficiently and in timely manner, the government set up a Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), with a mandate to track delivery, remove blockages to attainment of set service delivery targets, and report to the Presidency through routines and an action oriented dashboard. The unit was expected to be non-bureaucratic and to work with pace and urgency. 

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Austin Ndiokwelu
Reform Manager, 
PERL - ARC Federal 
The Presidential Delivery Unit – An Emerging Success Story
What are the Results?
After one year of consistent technical support, some tangible results are beginning to emerge. So far, the unit is developing into an effective agency of the Presidency, focusing, driving and supporting the delivery of social investments.  There are both service delivery results and improvements in processes. 
Service Delivery Results
PDU is contributing to improved access to finance, enhanced financial inclusion and empowerment for over 189,000 market women, artisans, youth and farmers. 

The Government Enterprise and Empowerment (GEEP) is a social intervention programme aimed at stimulating growth through credit. It targets market men and women, traders, artisans, youths and farmers by providing interest-free loans ranging from N10,000 to N100,000, but a one-time administrative fee of 5 per cent. A concerted effort was made within the PDU to ensure the programme ramped up considerable volume in the third quarter. The volume of loans disbursed in the third-quarter, now stands at 189,008 loan disbursements. This is over 130% percent increase from the second quarter total disbursements of 81,000 loans. So far, over NGN 7.3 billion has been disbursed by the GEEP programme (through the Bank of Industry, BoI).
PDU is facilitating improved access to cash stipends for the poorest families.  
The unit is fully involved in problem identification and solving interventions within the SIPs. A clear example of an intervention that led to quantifiable improved results is the evidence-based analysis and problem-solving intervention which identified that the reason for the poor performance of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme was the poor performance of the formal banking system. The CCT Programme is designed to transfer the sum of N5,000 (Five Thousand Naira) to carefully targeted and identified Poor and Vulnerable Households. A total of 750,000 (seven hundred and fifty thousand) households are expected to have benefited from the intervention by the end of 2017. The goal is to increase the purchasing power of households and their standard of living.  The unit researched previous cash transfer programmes, identified best practices such as the use of money market operators and money agents and convinced the team to try a pilot.  From January 2017 to March 2017, only 6,500 beneficiaries had been paid across the country. After intervention by the PDU, performance improved significantly. By September 2017, 124,000 beneficiaries were being paid NGN 5,000 per month and by the end of October, over 250,000 beneficiaries were receiving NGN 5,000 per month. This amounts to a total of NGN 1.25 billion paid out to the poorest of the poor families across the country.
More children are being fed in public Schools, as speed of payment to cooks improves.

The unit's intervention to unblock challenges with the Home-Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme identified that there were delays and other problems with the payments to cooks.  As of August 2017, the Presidency is said to have paid NGN 6.2 billion to 14 States during the school year ending that month for the feeding of 2.83 million pupils out of the three million targeted for this year (94 per cent performance).  Some 19,881 schools are participating in the HGSF programme, and 34,869 cooks have been employed.
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About PERL
The Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) is a five-year governance programme, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). The programme focuses support on governments, citizens, and evidence-based advocacy. PERL provides assistance to governments in the core areas of policy development and implementation. 
Process Improvements
  • A more targeted and focused remit and structure for the PDU to initially focus on the pro-poor Social Investment Programme has been put in place. The new structure is also sufficiently flexible to adapt to new priorities or short-term assignments.
  • PDU is already providing value to the NSIO and other key government establishments. Relationships have improved and complementarity of roles are clear between the unit and the NSIO. Terms of engagement have been agreed and signed. The NSIO has started to appreciate the value added by unit in tracking progress and identifying bottlenecks in delivering the SIPs, such as steps required to approve Conditional Cash Transfers, payment processes for the Home-Grown School Feeding programme and delays in issuing Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs). The unit also developed a manual on monitoring and evaluation for the SIPs. The Presidential Delivery Unit is therefore thought to have contributed significantly to the progress being made by through social investments.
  • Government is recognizing the relevance and value added by PDU. Government committed to setting aside dedicated funding for the unit in the 2018 federal budget. The allocation is expected to be in the region of NGN 600 million, and would be drawn from the N500 billion set as for the SIPs. This is the first time the government is formally budgeting for the unit (although its existence is not yet backed up by formal legislation by the legislature).
  • PDU has also constantly innovated.  PDU has delivered well-received initiatives such as a comprehensive monthly media analysis of programmes which include both traditional as well as social media. The unit has supported tracking readiness assessments of states and are developing and supporting beneficiary feedback platforms.
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The opinions expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department for International Development.