63m Nigerians to benefit
BY CHIKA OKEKE and KINGSLEY AKAMABE, Abuja
The Conditional Cash Transfer Office (CCTO) domiciled in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has disclosed that the payment of N25, 000 monthly to 15 million households is the biggest social protection intervention in Africa, a situation that placed Nigeria as number one social interventionist.
In an exclusive interview with Presidential Diary in Abuja, the Program Manager of Conditional Cash Transfer Programme (CCTP) Dr Michael Ajuluchukwu disclosed that over 63 million Nigerians will benefit from the intervention programme.
Presidential Diary reports that President Bola Tinubu launched the conditional cash transfer program in October 2023, as part of his efforts to address poverty and vulnerability in the country.
The program aims to provide monthly cash transfers of N25,000 to each of the 15 million households, amounting to N75, 000 for three months.
Ajuluchukwu said: “This is the biggest social protection intervention in Africa by targeting 15 million households. You can go and verify it and over 63 million Nigerians will benefit.
“It is a significant portion of the 133 million Nigerians that are multi-dimensionally poor. My minister (Betta Edu) will not be comfortable until she has significantly made an impact on that number,”
Already, the ministry is collaborating with the Ministries of Finance, Health, Education, and Agriculture to pull Nigerians out of the prevailing multi-dimensional poverty in the country.
Aside the CCTP, President Bola Tinubu is determined to create jobs for millions of Nigerians through different methods, while the ministry will provide zero-interest loans for markets, petty traders and market women.
0n plans for the scheme in the next five years, Ajuluchukwu said: “Unfortunately, the World Bank project will end in June 2024. We are pushing for an extension but it is not as if we are sleeping. We are trying to restructure the office and make sure that it is a proper organisation.
“We have a validation workshop coming up in collaboration with development partners that works in social protection space.
“We will also approve a new organisational chart and structure, and task ourselves, then use that to engage other partners that are willing to do the kind of things that we do and give us the needed technical, equipment, financial and human resource support so that we will continue to perfect our system.
“We want to be a universal machine that is used for any form of inkind or incash transfers within the country. That is our projection because the people working in the office have the capacity both at the national and sub-national level to successfully implement the program. The only thing that has not happened is the publicity,” he added.
He disclosed that international organisation’s willingness to use a particular organisation as a vehicle to disburse their support is an indication that such organisation has credibility.
The program manager stated that the target of CCTO in the next couple of years is to make their system full-proof and record 95 percent success rate, noting that the remaining percentage would be traceable to hiccups that could be easily amended.
Ajuluchukwu hinted that CCTO is working assiduously to establish Renewed Hope Cash Transfer Office before the end of this administration.
“Our major focus now is to deliver the intervention to 15 million Nigerians who represent 15 million households and an expanded population of about 63 million Nigerians. At the end of this month, we intend to reach about five million and we are gradually building up to that five million.
He insisted that the N25, 000 monthly payment was set aside to address economic shock that popped up as a result of fuel subsidy removal and differentials in foreign exchange.
The ministry will also support poor farmers as plans are underway to introduce End Hunger Project and Good Nigeria Project through the social safety net programmes.
Describing minister Edu as a hardworking and passionate humanitarian guru, Ajuluchukwu added: “My minister does not play with approvals. She will call anybody anytime to make sure that Nigerians are assisted.
“She is always moving because she is passionate on what she is doing. She had developed that passion right from when she was the Commissioner for Health in Cross River state. She has adopted children and pays school fees for people in the communities.
“These happened at a time when people never took philanthropy serious in their careers. The office part of her job is actually the most boring part to her. She prefers to be in the field meeting with the vulnerable people, experiencing their pains and trying to see how she can assist them. That is the type of person I am working with.”
63m Nigerians to benefit