By Stanley Onyekwere
No fewer than 20,000 residents of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have benefited from the N10,000 monthly Conditional Cash Transfer FCT State in 2019 under the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme (SIP).
This was disclosed by the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, during a one day Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Co-responsibility Engagement Stakeholders forum.
Aliyu also revealed that the programme has established savings groups for the beneficiaries to engage in various livelihood activities that would lift them out of the depth of poverty and prevent them from plunging into shocks.
The Minister, who was represented by the Special Assistant on Technical Matters, Mubdiyu Mustapha, noted that the components of the SIP were carefully planned to encapsulate the administration’s cardinal objective of eradicating extreme poverty, and by extension, providing security and developing the economy of Nigeria.
She, however, observed that despite the milestones recorded, Nigerians are not yet where they need to be in the fight against poverty, stressing that there are a lot of things that could be done differently within the social protection circle.
According to her, “Specifically, we need more research, we need more young people venturing into the social protection field, and we need to improve our results chain.
“We need not reinvent the wheel and we must ensure we learn from past mistakes, by documentation and analysis for future references.
“While it is true that we have an approved National Social Protection Policy and we have launched the National Social Investment Programmes, and have achieved milestones, we are not yet where we need to be in the fight against poverty. We must therefore continue to work towards changing the fortunes of our people for the better.
“Our health indices need to change for the better; our level and quality of education must improve; our life expectancy must increase; and our multidimensional poverty rating must be reduced.
“In addition, we must continue to work to checkmate unemployment, bring down the numbers of out of school children, provide vocational training opportunities especially in the grassroots where they are needed, and above all, continue to strive to ensure all human lives matter.”
Also speaking, the Head, FCT State Cash Transfer Unit, Dr. Luka Ayuba, while giving the overview of the Conditional Cash Transfer in the FCT described the introduction of the Social Investment Programme as the best programme of government geared towards tackling extreme poverty in Nigeria.
He that the programme has covered three Area Councils of Abaji, Kuje and Kwali, revealing that the unit will scale-up its activities in the other three Area Councils of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Bwari and Gwagwalada in the next phase.
Ayuba said the Social Investment Programme (SIP) in the country has 5 key components namely: N-Power, GEEP (Market Money, Trader Money, Farmer Money), Home Grown School Feeding Programme, STEM Bursary, and Conditional Cash Transfer.