The federal government through the Humanitarian Ministry yesterday distributed cash to beneficiaries under its conditional cash transfer programme monthly stipends of N5,000 each to the poor and vulnerable households in FCT.
According to the federal government, the move was part of measures to cushion the impacts of the restriction and lockdown order by the government on residents in Abuja.
The Minister, Ministry Of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq said yesterday that the intervention was to reduce the sufferings of Nigerians especially the less privileged ones and the vulnerable in the society during the trying time of coronavirus pandemic.
According to her, the Federal Government is fully aware that the lockdown and other restrictions it directed to contain the Covid-19 virus from its continued spread, will affect so many people especially the vulnerable populations and therefore came up with the intervention programme to support families in their daily needs.
She added that the President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the ministry to give them 4 months advance payment to ease their pain within the period of the lockdown.
She said: ‘‘This intervention is intended to cover over 5,000 beneficiaries in Kwali Area Council of the FCT and over 1million beneficiaries across the country, but we are starting from the FCT, Lagos and Ogun as the frontline states of this pandemic, and will be carried out on monthly basis to assist the poor and vulnerable households in five states of the federation”.
Farouq said that the CCT Programme has been ongoing in the last six years and that President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to cater for the welfare of the less privileged especially during this period of Coronavirus pandemic.
Also speaking, the national programme coordinator for the conditional cash transfer, Dr Sikaiye Temitope said: “We have about 5,000 households in the FCT enrolled in the CCT programme. It is targeted at the poorest of the poor in Nigeria, whereby government pays N5,000 stipend to the poorest of the poor. Government has decided to pay N20,000 to the beneficiaries, which covers a period of four months; in order to relieve the economic pressure on them.
“The exercise will take place in all the states across the federation. We are starting with FCT, Lagos and Ogun, the three states that are currently under lockdown because of the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria. Therefore, this stipend will go a long way to support the families of the beneficiaries in their daily lives, especially at this time of the Coronavirus pandemic that is ravaging the world.”
In the same vain, Dr Luka Make Ayuba, Head of FCT State Cash Transfer said that the conditional cash transfer is just one component of the social investment programme of the federal government hence there is a committee that is called Community based targets, that is expected to go into the community and identify the poor and vulnerable household.
Similarly, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on governments around the world to treat the COVID-19 pandemic as a war urging them to put in place policies that will guarantee the continued functioning of essential sectors and prevent excessive economic disruption whilst ensuring that they provide enough resources for people hit by the crisis.