By Egena Sunday Ode
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Farouq, has said the Ministry will now focus on the urban poor as it carries out President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on the distribution palliatives to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on Nigerians.
The Minister disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents in Abuja
She said: “You are aware that the President in his broadcast of Monday 13th April, directed that we expand the beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer by one million and in this regard, we are going to focus more now on the urban poor.
“These are people who depend on the informal sector to earn their livelihood; they are daily wage earners and these are the people that we are really going to focus more on as well as people living with disabilities.”
According to her, the Ministry is considering three options to be adopted in selecting the beneficiaries of the palliatives.
“Well, we have three options; one, we are going to use the national social register that we already have, two, we are also going to focus on the urban poor as I mentioned, by using their verified BVN accounts to get them, that is, people that have an account balance of N5, 000 and below.
“We are also using the mobile networks, to know people that top up the credit units for their phones with may be N100 or less. Those are also people that we consider to be poor and vulnerable. So, these are the three options that we are exploring and I am sure that by the time we get this data we will be able to give this intervention,” Farouq said.
She however stsred only 25 percent of the population would benefit for now, adding that the scope might be expanded later.
“Let me also say that we have a standard. 25 percent of the total population of is what we will take out. It cannot go round everywhere but we are starting from somewhere 25 percent of let’s say the location of Lagos state for example is what is going to benefit from this intervention that we are doing. Going forward, we might expand it but this is what is obtainable for now,” she explained.
She further said the Ministry intends to handover the distribution of food relief items to State governments, so as to address the challenges associated with distribution faced in the past.