By Joseph Erunke, Abuja
The federal government has begun the disbursement of N20,000 to rural women in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Abuja.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, flagged off the disbursement under the Grant for Rural Women Project, Thursday, in Abuja.
Rural women in the six area councils of the FCT, are to benefit from the disbursement under the government’s National Social Investment Programme. Speaking at the event, Farouq explained that the grant was aimed at increasing the income and productive assets of target beneficiaries.
The minister said: “Since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration in 2015, the Federal Government has paid more attention to promoting the plight of the poor and vulnerable in the country despite the economic slump the Administration inherited. This informed the decision to initiate the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) as a strategy for enhancing social inclusion.”
According to the minister, “NSIP is one of the largest social protection programmes in Africa with over $1billion earmarked annually to cause positive change in the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable in the country.”
She spoke further: “Since its introduction in 2016, the programme has impacted positively on the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria. I have personally witnessed the life-changing experiences of people who lived below the poverty line and those that are vulnerable to shocks.
“The Grant for Rural Women programme was introduced in 2020 to sustain the social inclusion agenda of President Buhari’s Administration. It is consistent with the President’s new national vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. It is designed to provide a one-off grant to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural and peri-urban areas of the country.
“A cash grant of N20,000 will be disbursed to about 125,000 poor women across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. Our target in FCT is to disburse the grant to about 2,000 beneficiaries across the 6 Area Councils. The grant is expected to increase income and productive assets of target beneficiaries. It is our hope that the beneficiaries of this programme will make good use of the grant to generally contribute towards improving their living standard.
“Over 12 million households have benefitted from NSIP interventions in the last 5 years. This included payment of a monthly Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) of N5,000 to 1 million indigent households to protect them against economic shocks and elevate them out of poverty. We just launched the Covid-19 Rapid Response Register, which will provide cash transfer to additional 1 million poor urban households.
“Also, 1,092,405 micro and small business owners accessed loans to boost productivity, increase income and reduce poverty under the Government Enterprise Enhancement Programme (GEEP). The N-Power programme provides temporary income-generating opportunities for 500,000 unemployed youths, while 8,612,457 primary 1-3 pupils in public schools are receiving 1 meal per day under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.
“With the creation of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development by President Buhari in 2019, these programmes are being restructured and revamped to respond to peculiarities of different parts of the country, to ensure the right beneficiaries are targeted, and to enhance the impact on target beneficiaries. In view of this, President Buhari has graciously approved the expansion of NSIP to touch more lives and lift more Nigerians above the poverty breadline.
“We believe with the complementary effort of the FCT Administration under the leadership of the Honourable Minister, Muhammad Bello, and the Honourable Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu Tijjani, the target beneficiaries will be on their way out of poverty to prosperity. I am optimistic that with the support and cooperation of the stakeholders present here, we will remain on the track of lifting 100 million out of poverty by 2030.”