The federal government says is ready to commence the payment of 5,000 naira monthly stipends to the poorest and the most vulnerable in Nigeria.
It says the payments will be made through the Conditional Cash Transfer(CCT) of its social Investment Programmes(SIP).
The monthly stipend was part of the campaign promises made by the President Muhammed Buhari administration.
In a statement by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said that under the CCT, one million Nigerians would receive 5,000 Naira monthly payments, as a form of social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable as budgeted for in the 2016 Budget.
“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 & Ekiti States,” the statement read.
Nine Pilot States
The Vice President said that the nine pilot states were chosen because they had 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.
He, however, pointed out that other states had 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 eight 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.
“The Federal Government will actually commence community mobilisation for the creation of the Register in more States soon, to expand the scope and reach of the CCT across the country”.
According to the presidency, Plateau, Jigawa, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Enugu, Katsina and Taraba States have so far complied with the stipulated framework provided and are set for the community based targeting method for the development of their Social Register within their jurisdictions.
“These States are to be followed by Delta, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Imo and Ogun States. Once the community mobilisation, identification and selection processes are completed, the information garnered from the poorest households would be entered onto the Social Register in the states and the National Register at NIBSS, after which the cash transfers would be disbursed to the beneficiaries.
“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, 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 statement further read.
The Vice President also stated that the N-Power Volunteer Corps designed to hire half a million unemployed graduates which has now engaged 200,000, and the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme now running in three states, the Buhari administration has also kicked-off the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
According to him, under GEEP, soft loans ranging from 10,000 Naira to 100,000 Naira 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, and the disbursement of the soft loans through the Bank of Industry have 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 States,” Professor Osinbajo explained.
He, however, stated that disbursements were halted and deferred until after the festive season. Vetting and approval of beneficiaries are now being continued through the month, with the expectation and plan that by month-end disbursements would have been made to 33,000 beneficiaries.
Regarding the 200,000 beneficiaries of the N-Power programme, the Vice President said that close to 50% of the graduates, had now been physically verified, and started receiving their monthly stipends of N30,000 last week.
“A second batch of 300,000 unemployed graduates are expected to be selected early this year to make up the half a million target set by the Buhari administration.
“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 stated.
Giving further breakdown of programmes of the government for Nigerians, the Vice President said the government had also started the implementation of the National Home-grown School Feeding Programme designed to feed 5.5 million school children for 200 school days in the first phase of the programme.
He pointed out that 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.
professor Osinbajo further assured Nigerians that in the new year, “it is the plan of the Federal Government to scale up the implementation of the SIP to touch the lives of millions of Nigerians in fulfilment of its promises and in furtherance of its Change agenda”.