President Bola Tinubu initiated the distribution of N25,000 per month to 15 million households on Tuesday.
Tinubu flagged off the Renewed Hope conditional cash transfer program during an event at the State House in Abuja.
This initiative aims to assist poor and vulnerable Nigerians and alleviate the impact of fuel subsidy removal and economic shocks.
The conditional cash transfer program is one of 15 components outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Federal Government and Organized Labour on October 2, 2023.
The labor union had originally planned an indefinite nationwide strike on October 3 to protest the government’s failure to engage meaningfully and reach agreements on the consequences of the petrol price hike.
Following the signing of the MoU on October 2, Labor suspended its strike plans for 30 days, with the promise to revisit the issue if the government did not implement the agreement’s immediate aspects within that period.
On Tuesday, which coincided with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, President Tinubu, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, highlighted his administration’s collaboration with the World Bank Group and other development partners to implement conditional cash transfers, business grants, and other forms of support through the National Social Safety Net Expansion Program.
He stated that his government is committed to ensuring that all Nigerians have access to decent work and sustained social protection. Additionally, the government plans to invest in various sectors, including transportation, agriculture, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), poverty alleviation programs, and business grants for vulnerable market women, farmers, and traders.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, noted that approximately 61 million Nigerians would benefit directly from the conditional cash transfer program, which provides N75,000 over three months to 15 million households.
Edu explained that the program aims to provide relief to impoverished and internally displaced persons through cash transfers, low-cost shelter, vocational skills training, and other interventions designed to combat poverty.
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, emphasized that President Tinubu views the current poverty rate of 63 percent as unacceptable and has made poverty reduction a top priority.
The World Bank country representative, Shubham Chaudhuri, confirmed the effectiveness of cash transfers in reducing poverty, especially among those affected by economic shocks and rising living costs. He stated that cash transfers provide crucial support during difficult times and help individuals avoid making decisions with long-term negative consequences.
During the event, President Tinubu presented symbolic checks of N25,000 each to five program beneficiaries: Larai Suleiman, Shuaibu Hassana, Sariki Gamu, Okor Jonah, and Hameed Kosemani Isiaka.
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Cash transfers are an excellent way to help fight poverty: Betta Edu
Betta Edu is The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. She said this during the launch of the Renewed Hope Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) in Abuja on Tuesday.
Edu explained that the CCT is part of the government’s efforts to reduce the immediate impact of removing subsidies on petrol. This new program aims to empower the poorest and most vulnerable people in society, providing them with financial support. The launch included the symbolic handing over of checks to some households.
President Tinubu had previously announced the CCT program during his Independence Day speech, stating that 15 million households would receive N25,000 each month for three months to reduce poverty. Beneficiaries receive the transfers based on specific actions, like sending children to school or regular health check-ups.
The Minister also mentioned the upcoming N30,000 Iyaloja loan scheme for small-scale traders as part of economic revitalization and empowerment.
During the event, five beneficiaries received their first monthly installment payments. Wale Edun, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, assured transparency in the CCT program, stating that it aligns with global best practices.
The World Bank Country Representative, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, expressed the institution’s readiness to support Nigeria in diverting funds from fuel subsidies to alleviate poverty. He emphasized the importance of ensuring that the funds reach the most vulnerable members of society to achieve the program’s objectives.