The Federal Government has said that about 2.5 million Nigerians have benefitted from its cash transfer programme.
It added that it was implementing the programme to rescue Nigerians from poverty.
National Coordinator, National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO), Office of the Vice President Mr. Apera Iorwa stated these on Wednesday while addressing reporters at the Social Protection Cross Learning Summit in Abuja.
According to him, “At the moment, we have developed the social register in 26 states of the federation. We have a total of 655,000 poor and vulnerable households made up of 2,590,000 individuals within that register. From there, we mine the beneficiaries for the cash transfer programme and other programmes of government.
“It is our hope that this year, setting the stage for next coming years, we would be in the 36 states of the federation. We will start with the first 30 per cent of the poorest local governments in each state, and gradually, we move to the other local governments. The plan is to ultimately saturate every community in Nigeria.
“The next two years will see us saturate and having presence in every community; giving all who are identified as poor and vulnerable the opportunity to access social intervention programmes that we are working on.
“The National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office is established by the Federal Government of Nigeria and bankrolled by credit from the World Bank; the World Bank also giving technical support in building the social register and social safety nets programme.
“This loan facility is beyond the current administration; the loan is till 2020. So, it’s beyond the current administration. The structure as we believe will go on, and regardless of the government, we know that the Federal Government is focused on Human Capital Development, which speaks a lot to social protection.”
He explained that the Tradermoni programme was not a strategy for vote-buying as it has been alleged by opposition politicians.
Apera stated that the programme was targeted at small-scale businesses and the poor in the society.
He said: “It is not vote-buying at all because it is increasing the capacity of people to do better in business and enhancing the income of the family.
“Some of the international delegates that are here from Ghana, South Africa and Malawi said it is difficult to believe that we started only two years ago.
“We have offices established in the 36 states, including Abuja, and we have 655,000 poor and vulnerable households in our social register, and the register is currently being raised in all these 36 states – it is unprecedented.”
Director, Social Development, Ministry of Budget & National Planning Mrs. Falilat Abdulraheem explained that previous administrations have had lots of interventions in social protection; but Buhari administration far surpasses all of them in just three years.
Social Protection Advisor, Hunger Reduction & Livelihoods Dr. Luke Harman said: “Successful countries in the 21st century are no longer about extracting things from the ground or manufacturing, but the main focus is more on human capital and it is going to be about investing in people.
“It is great to see that in Nigeria in the last few years, all these investments have been made, for example through the National Social Investment Programme.”