If the statement coming out of the office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo is anything to go by, poor and vulnerable Nigerians are in for 'better days' as the administration of President Muhammad Buhari has commenced the payment of N5,000 under its Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme, which is one of its cardinal campaign promises.
Under the programme, the Buhari had promised to empower one million poor and most vulnerable Nigerians with a monthly stipend of N5,000.
The programme is under the government’s s Social Investment Programmes (SIP), which earlier saw the payment of N30,000 monthly stipends to 200,000 youth under the N-Power programme which began in December 2016 and the School Feeding programme.
The commencement of the payment under the CCT was announced on Monday in a statement from the Office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
The statement, signed by the Vice President’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, said the first batch of payment would cover nine states.
He said some of the beneficiaries had started receiving their payments as from December 30, 2016.
He said funds for the payments to beneficiaries in Borno, Kwara and Bauchi were released last week to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, NIBSS, the platform that hosts and validates payments for all government’s SIP.
He added that the funds for another set, which include Cross River, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Ogun and Ekiti, would follow soon to complete the first batch of beneficiaries.
Akande said the nine pilot states were chosen because they had an existing Social Register that successfully identified the most vulnerable and poorest Nigerians.
He said the registers emerged through a tried and tested community based targeting (CBT) method working with the World Bank while other states were developing their Social Registers and would be included in subsequent phases.
Akande said the Federal Government would actually commence community mobilisation for the creation of the register in more states to expand the scope and reach of the CCT across the country.
He said that Plateau, Jigawa, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Enugu, Katsina and Taraba had so far complied with the stipulated framework provided and were set for the community based targeting method for the development of their Social Registers.
According to him, those states would be followed by Delta, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Imo and Ogun.
“All the funds approved for the federal government’s Social Investment Programmes, SIP, are domiciled with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
“In addition, the payment information and processes for all beneficiaries of the federal government’s SIP are hosted at NIBSS, as the Consolidated Beneficiary Register.
“It is to ensure and fortify efforts at authentication and verification, as well as for effective and efficient programme management.
“With the commencement of the CCT, the Buhari administration is now implementing four of the federal government’s SIP,’’ the release said.
The release added that the Buhari administration had commenced the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, (GEEP) where soft loans ranging from N10,000 to 100,000 have been designed for artisans, traders, market women among others.
“Already, thousands of cooperatives, market women associations, farmers and enterprising youths, have been identified and registered for the purpose, on an ongoing basis.
“The disbursement of the soft loans through the Bank of Industry started since November 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,’’ he added.
Akande said that the expectation and plan were that by month-end disbursements would have been made to 33,000 beneficiaries.
Regarding the 200,000 beneficiaries of the N-Power programme, he explained that about 50 per cent of the graduates had been physically verified and had started receiving their monthly stipends of N30,000.
Akande announced that a second batch of 300,000 unemployed graduates would be selected early this year to make up the half a million target set by the Buhari administration.