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Published On: Tue, Sep 19th, 2017

FCT social safety net takes off October

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Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Bello

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Bello

By Stanley Onyekwere

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) would commence conditional cash transfer to the poorest of the poor across the Territory next month.
The Minister of the FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello dropped this hint while declaring open a training session of community-based targeting team members at the FCT Pavilion, Area 11, Garki, Abuja, penultimate week.
Bello, who was represented by the FCT Administration Director, Human Resources Management, Hajiya Amina Abubakar charged participants of the preparatory training and the operations coordinating unit “to work concertedly with the community-based targeting teams to give the task all it takes to be able to deliver Mr. President’s campaign promises to the poor and vulnerable in the FCT as soon as possible, maybe by the month of October”, 2017.
Reiterating the determination of the government to better the lives of Nigerians, Bello said: “The Federal Government has committed itself to dedicate national resources to improve the lives of her citizens and strengthen the role of social protection in helping to redistribute resources more equitably.
“This policy provides access to targeted cash transfers to the poor and vulnerable living among us.
“The cardinal objective of the program is to ensure that the most vulnerable in the FCT, no matter where they live, will begin to feel the impact of government.”
According to him, benefits of the training includes equipping the participants with requisite skills for the identification and selection of the ‘poor and vulnerable in the social register in the FCT’, facilitation of community engagement before kick-starting of the actual cash transfer.
The Minister, also disclosed that the FCT has selected 6,464 volunteers and deployed them into key sectors of education (4,878), health (644) and agriculture (942).
He added that Abaji, Kwali and Kuje Area Councils would form part of the first phase of the identification and enumeration of the poor and vulnerable households, after which the rest of the Territory would be covered.
Bello therefore tasked FCT safety net “to measure up and set the pace for the States”, and accelerate its implementation in the FCT.
On his part, National Social Safety Net Coordinator, Mr. Peter Papka hailed the “bold step taken by the FCT Administration” through the training and noted that it was a new thing happening not only in Nigeria but also Africa.
Papka however regretted that governments at all levels come out with many poverty reduction programmes, but sadly, Nigerians remain poor, adding that “we know what is right but refuse to do it. So let’s celebrate the Federal Government for this noble initiative.”
Calling on the stakeholders to be sincere in ensuring the success of the programme, Papka lampooned public servants, accusing them of rather taking advantage of government efforts for personal gains, thus making such efforts to fail.
Similarly, Acting Secretary for FCT Social Development Secretariat (SDS), Mrs. Irene Adebola Elegbele, who also spoke, disclosed that the second phase of the programme would accommodate Gwagwalada, Bwari and the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) after the first phase.
She explains that the social intervention programme is meant to offer a conditional and unconditional cash transfer of N5,000 to each of the most vulnerable households and indigent people in the FCT.
Elegbele revealed this and further explained that the programme was composed of State Operation coordinating Unit and State Cash Transfer Unit.
The Acting Secretary therefore appealed to the FCT Council Chairmen “to constitute a selection committee which will in turn select the CBTT that will be responsible for the identification of the poorest and the vulnerable households for inclusion in the Social Register for FCT.
Representative of the Director of Economic Planning, Research and Statistics of the FCTA, Mr. Kelvin Ike while moving vote of thanks assured that participants would be given the needed capacity in modern ways of data management to enable them succeed.
Ike, urged the participants to take advantage of the programme to improve on themselves educationally and also use it to improve the lives of the people.

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