Laolu Akande, spokesman of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, says the federal government has started paying a stipend of N5,000 monthly to the poorest and the most vulnerable Nigerians in the country.
In a statement on Monday, Akande explained that the payment was done through the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) of its Social Investment Programmes (SIP).
“Under the CCT, one million Nigerians would receive N5000 monthly payments as a form of social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable as budgeted for in the 2016 Budget,” he said.
“In the first batch that commenced last week, nine states would be covered, and many of the beneficiaries have already reported receiving their first payments by Friday last week, December 30, 2016.
“Funds for the commencement of the payments in four states were released last week to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) – the platform that hosts and validates payments for all government’s social intervention programmes. Funds for another set of five states to complete the first batch of nine states would follow soon.
“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.”
Akande explained that the aforementioned states were chosen because they had existing social registers that successfully identified the most vulnerable and poorest Nigerians through tried and tested community-based targeting (CBT).
“However other states have already begun developing their Social Registers and would be included in subsequent phases of the CCT implementation,”he said.
“Beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer of the Federal Government would be mined from the Social Register, initially developed by 8 States through a direct engagement with the World Bank. Those states are featured in the first batch, with the added inclusion of Borno States where a validated list of IDPS were compiled in addition to the social register which is expected to go round the country.
“Working with the World Bank, the CBT process has now been adopted for developing the Social Register in the other States around the country, for transparency, objectivity and credibility in the selection of the poorest and most vulnerable beneficiaries for the programme.”
He added that besides the CCT, the Buhari administration had also kicked off the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, (GEEP).
“Under GEEP, soft loans ranging from N10,000 to 100,000 have been designed for artisans, traders, market women among others. Already, thousands of co-operatives, market women associations, farmers and enterprising youths, have been identified and registered for the purpose, on an ongoing basis, and the disbursement of the soft loans through the Bank of Industry have started since Nov 25, 2016.”
“At the last count, for the first phase, beneficiaries have been drawn from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Delta, Imo, Kwara, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Kogi states.”
He said that the 200,000 beneficiaries of the N-Power programme have been physically verified and have started receiving their monthly stipends of N30,000.
“The verified graduates are now being deployed to work as assistant teachers in schools, as community health aides and as agricultural extension workers, in more than 20 States of the Federation. These States include; Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Anambra, Benue, Cross Rivers, Borno, Gombe, Edo, Jigawa, Katsina, Plateau, Kogi, Osun, Rivers, Zamfara, Niger, Sokoto, Ogun and Taraba,” he said, adding that the federal government had also started the implementation of the National Homegrown School Feeding programme designed to feed 5.5 million school children.
“Although the initial design was to feed pupils in 18 States, funding challenges had affected an earlier take-off. But the programme has now commenced in Osun, Kaduna and Anambra States. More states are expected to join this new year,” Akande said.