Cash transfer improving our lives – Kaduna beneficiaries
Of Sola OjoKaduna
The three groups of people, the rich, the middle class and the poor. It’s been that way down through the ages. These three groups have emerged due to several factors, including laws and policies, context, environment, and natural events, each of which can make some rich, poor, or vulnerable.
In Nigeria, the respective federal, state and local governments and administrations have made deliberate efforts to reduce the shocks and vulnerability of Nigerians through social protection programs and interventions such as Operation Feed the Nation, the Structural Adjustment Program, Better Life for Rural Women, Poverty Eradication Program, N-Power), the National Cash Transfer and Home Grown School Feeding Program, among many others.
Recently, one of the social protection programs designed to benefit poor and vulnerable Nigerians, especially women, is the National (Conditional) Cash Transfer Program under the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and of Social Development. The intervention aimed to improve household consumption, encourage household acquisition of financial assets and assets, and engage beneficiaries in sustainable livelihoods.
The information showed that the program was initially implemented on a pilot basis in 37 primary health care facilities in selected local governments. in nine states, including FCT, Niger, Ogun, Kaduna, Zamfara, Bauchi, Anambra, Ebonyi and Bayelsa, aimed at improving maternal and newborn health services in public health facilities.
So far, about two million poor and vulnerable households who would have been taken from the social register are receiving N5,000 per month from the Federal Government with support from the World Bank and other financial institutions across the country, while a total of 70,051 people across the 23 local government areas are benefiting from the scheme, which started in 2017 through the Social Investment Office located inside Government House, Kaduna State. This is in line with Goals 1 and 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.
Recently, this correspondent traveled to Kafanchan, the headquarters of Jema’a LGA of Kaduna State, where he spoke with some of the 114 cash transfer recipients in the area to hear directly from them on how whose intervention has affected their lives, businesses and households.
Laurentia B. Marcus said, “Before now, I used to fry akara, yams, and other things to sell. But, along the line, everything stopped due to difficulties, until the money transfer support arrived and I restarted my business. I am truly grateful to God for helping me benefit from this program as my livelihood has improved and I am able to support my family. I want to ask the government to reduce the number of months they keep the money stacked. For example, they can pay us after two or three months instead of waiting five or six months.
“I was doing well until I lost my husband in an accident a few weeks ago and was unable to carry on. I am now in the hands of God. So I need help from the government , businesses and individuals as everything about my five children now rests with me I have no one I appreciate what the government has done but due to the circumstances I find myself in I am asking for more support so that I can continue my business to enable me to feed these children and send them to school.
Another beneficiary, Talatu Salau, said, “I was selling kulikuli, moimoi, firewood and kunu before I learned that my name was included in this intervention. The money helps me develop my activities, especially firewood. Other than that, I am currently using some of the money to support myself, my children and my grandchildren. »
Hafsatu Bala, who also benefited from the programme, said: “Before the intervention, I was selling kunu. The money helped me improve my household’s livelihood. It also helped me grow my business. I now buy cereals in large quantities for kunu’s business, unlike before when I bought in small quantities. We are very grateful. We really appreciate the government for their efforts to lift us out of poverty and we hope that this intervention will continue so that more people can access it.
For Aisha Idris, life improves with the procedure. She told our correspondent: “It has helped me improve my business and I have had no problems so far accessing the money when it comes.
“Nobody stopped me. In fact, my family members encouraged me to use it well so that I can repay my loan as I am a beneficiary of Kaduna State Women Empowerment Fund ( KADSWEF).
Another beneficiary, Victoria Bitrus, said: “I am grateful to be among the few lucky women who benefit from the money in this local government area. As you can see, I had to dodge heavy rain to make sure I availed myself of this interview. We pray that God will prosper all working people to ensure that we receive this money. I made judicious use of it, which gives hope for a better tomorrow. I pray for your safe return to Kaduna.
Alhaji Bala Muhammed Tijjani, Burnu Zazzau, who is the District Chief of Doka, Kaduna, said, “The social safety net is a very good idea. I think that was one of the ideas designed maybe like other programs around the world where development has outstripped ours.
“The need to reduce poverty is relevant. Thus, reaching a significant number of such people in various communities will be commendable because poverty comes with so many vices.
“Another thing is the urban poor, which is gaining ground now. This is the area the government needs to focus on because they live in an urban setting and there is this possibility of giving them N10,000 and they can hand it over. This is because they are in more populated and more productive environments than what you can get in rural areas. When you support the urban poor, you see the difference. That’s not to say that the rural poor don’t need help, but if you look at it in terms of ‘teach me how to fish instead of giving me fish’.
He further recommended that the government “engage the services of credible non-governmental and civil society organizations to carry out this intervention, as they tend to produce more results than what we see in government.”
Hajiya Auwal Abdulrazak, Head of Unit, State Cash Transfer, Government House, Kaduna, said, “Here in Kaduna State, the main objective of conditional cash transfers was to improve beneficiary household consumption, to increase the school attendance of their children, to improve the sanitation and environmental management of the beneficiaries in their own environment and to engage them in subsistence activities.
“We started in 2017 with approximately 20,000 beneficiaries and as of August 2022 we had 70,051 beneficiaries across the 23 local government areas of the state. We started in 2017 with nine local governments as a pilot, but have now covered all 23 local government areas in the state. “You have to see how they appreciate this program. When you give someone N10,000 in cash for the first time, you can see the happiness in them.
“When we started in 2017, there was this cash transfer facility in the community, which helped these recipients so that they didn’t just collect the allowance and spend it. So they formed cooperatives among themselves and we have around 900 cooperatives in the nine pilot GLs alone. In Sanga and Chikun, for example, these cooperatives are doing well in processing palm oil and garri.
“What interests me the most in the CCT is its digitization part. This makes our women financially inclusive, which is partly responsible for the delay before payment of the N40,000 (eight month allowance at N5,000 per month). This means that our women who did not have a bank account before have one and can save, withdraw and do business inside and outside their immediate home. I would like to see an improvement in this area so that in areas where we do not have a mobile network or financial institutions, these point of sale (PoS) operators can offer their services to women in these areas.
“We have our complaints officers in the 23 LGs and gender and safeguard officers. Only when the grievance cannot be handled at the local government level will it come to the state and when it cannot be handled at the state level we then send it to the national level .
Jessica Bartholomew, Chair of Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition, a civil society and media accountability platform that monitors and tracks social protection programs and interventions in Kaduna State, said, “From what we we have seen in the 23 local government regions and political wards in Kaduna State, cash transfer is one of the “shock absorber” programs that have a direct impact on the lives of beneficiaries and that is quite commendable , I must say.
“We have heard of a grievance mechanism available at local government level so that those who have complaints can speak up so that these can be resolved. It is gratifying that the beneficiaries of this particular intervention have been drawn from the social register. So as some have said, the federal government enforcement agencies should be prepared to ensure prompt payment of this token so that we don’t have arrears of up to eight months like we had before .