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Change catches on, as FG uplifts the indigent

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Street Beggars in the State.

Street Beggars in the State.

The federal government has announced the commencement of the monthly payment of N5, 000 to vulnerable Nigerians to reduce poverty, crime and other social vices in the country.

This is in addition to the payment of N30, 000 stipend to graduates employed under the N-Power programme and N1.2 million micro credit scheme.A statement by the Senior Special Assistant, Media, to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, said under the CCT, one million Nigerians would receive N5, 000 monthly payments as a form of social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable as budgeted for in the 2016 Budget.

He said: “Though the sequence for the payment of the money would be operationally managed by NIBSS, beneficiaries in Borno, Kwara and Bauchi States have started receiving the money.

The other states in the first batch to commence the CCT payments are Cross Rivers, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Ogun and Ekiti states.“The nine pilot states were chosen because they have an existing Social Register that successfully identified the most vulnerable and poorest Nigerians through a tried and tested Community Based Targeting (CBT) method working with the World Bank.

“However other states have already begun developing their Social Registers and would be included in subsequent phases of the CCT implementation.”He said in the first batch, which commenced last week, would cover nine states and many of the beneficiaries had already reported receiving their first payments by Friday, December 30, last year.

Akande said this is being done through the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) of its Social Investment Programmes (SIP), under which about one million Nigerians would receive N5, 000 monthly payments as a form of social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable, as provided for in last year’s budget.

Though the sequence for the payment of the money would be operationally managed by NIBSS, beneficiaries in some states have started receiving the money. The statement explained that the nine pilot states were chosen because they have an existing Social Register that successfully identified the most vulnerable and poorest Nigerians through a tried and tested community based targeting (CBT) method, working with the World Bank.

Other states have now begun developing their Social Registers and would be included in subsequent phases of the CCT implementation as soon as practicable. Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had during a media chat after the Federal Executive Council meeting in October last year confirmed the release of N25billion for the programme, as well as lending money to entrepreneurs, feeding primary school kids, training and employment of about 5000,000 university graduates.

She said one million caregivers would be given N5000 monthly over a period of two years, adding: “Focus has been given to the extremely poor and vulnerable in our society and special emphasis is being placed to providing as many as possible in the northeastern part of the country, where we have a lot of internally displaced persons.”

Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, disclosed that not all youths would get the N5, 000 stipend.Ngige revealed that only helpless youths in society would benefit from the stipends, adding that the federal government intends to convert most of the unemployed graduates to teachers to tackle graduate unemployment.

Akande told The Guardian that as at now, “Federal Government has sent payments to beneficiaries in the all nine states. But there are quite a number of places where the banks are located far away from the beneficiaries. So to deal with that challenge, what we have done is to arrange with the banks to go and pay the beneficiaries in cash, from their already opened accounts.

“It is important to add that this identification process has no political coloration of any kind. In fact most of the beneficiaries, if not all, in the eight states not counting Borno, had been selected before the Buhari administration came to office. This programme is for all Nigerians.

“We are confident that the transparency of the programme will bear itself out even though there seems to be some cynicism because of past experience with some government initiatives. All you need to do is to ask the beneficiaries: when were you enumerated?

Meanwhile, the Kwara State government has confirmed that some beneficiaries in the state have started having their accounts credited with the stipend. Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Ayinke Saka, said in Ilorin on Wednesday that the beneficiaries, spread across the 16 local councils areas of the state, included residents from Ilorin West, Ilorin East and Ilorin South.

Saka attributed the delay experienced by others to difficulty in opening bank accounts and verification numbers, assuring that this would be rectified soon.The commissioner explained that over 10,000 residents were expected to benefit from the scheme.But Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose described the announcement of commencement as mere propaganda.


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Laolu Akande

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