President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday flagged-off the Renewed Hope Conditional Cash Transfer programme to deliver financial support to 15 million households as a deliberate effort to address rising poverty in the country.
The flag off was announced to mark this years international day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu who welcomed guests at the event held at the presidential villa, Abuja said that about 62 million Nigerians will benefit from the programme.
Recall that the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, had in November last year announced that about 133 million Nigerians that are multidimensional poor.
Speaking at the event, President Tinubu who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator George Akume said the occasion was significant for Nigeria and for his administration as it presented him the opportunity to restate his administration’s commitment to poverty alleviation as expressed in his 8-point Agenda.
The President explained that his government’s plans for food security, ending hunger, poverty eradication, economic growth and job creation were all means to fight poverty and help the most vulnerable members of our society, the president outlined the steps government had already taken.
President Tinubu said it was the reason for the restructuring of the ministry of humanitarian affairs to include poverty alleviation and providing the policy framework for an aggressive poverty alleviation drive in Nigeria; developing the Renewed Hope Agenda for humanitarian response and poverty alleviation, and expanding the National Social Register to capture Nigerians living below one dollar per day.
Other steps of addressing poverty, the President noted, are restructuring the National Social Investment Programme and repositioning it for quick and efficient delivery that is transparent and accountable and partnering with the World Bank Group and other development partners to implement conditional cash transfers, business grants and other forms of support for the most vulnerable households.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s commemoration; “Decent Work and Social Protection: Putting dignity in practice for all,” Tinubu said that it was no doubt in perfect alignment with the Renewed Hope agenda.
He added: “My government will lead from the front in seeking to ensure that all Nigerians have decent opportunities for dignified work and sustained social protection.
“Today, my administration is launching the Renewed Hope Conditional Cash Transfer Program for vulnerable groups as an immediate intervention to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal and other economic shocks.
“However, the government is working to develop and deploy several more solutions and interventions to help Nigerians of all walks of life.”
President Tinubu called on stakeholders to continue to contribute their own quota in partnership with the ministry of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, saying that “It is only via a sustained collaborative approach that we can win this war against poverty in Nigeria and the world at large. Hope is here.”
“ I ask the Nigerian people to please ensure that they key into all the available programs because they are here to help. Our objective is to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty. Yet, this will only be possible that with the cooperation of the people we seek to help.
“Let us continue to work together to achieve our collective goal of eradicating poverty in Nigeria,” he added.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation had also earlier warned that to ignore poverty alleviation in the country will amount to sitting on a keg of gunpowder.
She observed that the N75,000 already announced by the president for disbursement to vulnerable households in the country is enough to successfully run small scale businesses.
She stated: “Beyond this, the government will be providing low-cost shelter for the poor and internally displaced persons as a form of providing that cover for them. Several other interventions, including the rural vocational skills Intervention will be carried out at mass scale. All of these are targeted at the various dimensions of poverty in the country.
“As a nation, we must come together to fight poverty. Poverty is that scourge, poverty is that hydra headed cobra in the room that if not tackled, would consume everyone.
“Sitting and ignoring poverty at any level, will only seem or equate to sitting on a keg of gunpowder and that’s why today, the president is taking it headlong.
“We want to encourage Nigerians, we want to encourage the private sector, we want to encourage our development partners that are here, it’s time to step up to the occasion.
“We have a clear-cut roadmap, an action plan for implementation of the eradication of poverty from Nigeria. Everyone must key in and be part of it.”
Edu assured that Tinubu will eradicate poverty in the country by the year 2030.
Also speaking, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Mr Wale Edun said the 63 percent statistics of Nigerians living in poverty representing 84 million Nigerians is unacceptable to President Bola Tinubu
He said, “Clearly to Mr. President, it is totally unacceptable as it is to the rest of us. And that is why it is perhaps his number one priority, tackling poverty and he has a program to stabilize the economy and grow the economy in general.
Mr Edun added that cash transfer program will help reduce poverty in a significant way
The World Bank country representative, Shubham Chaudhuri confirmed that cash transfers are a method widely acknowledged and universally accepted.
Chaudhuri stressed that the method has proven to be one of the most effective ways to provide assistance to citizens, particularly the impoverished and vulnerable who have been impacted by economic shocks or rising living costs.
He said, “This aid is crucial in helping them overcome the initial period during which they might otherwise be compelled to make decisions with long-term consequences.
“For instance, these decisions might include reducing daily meals to just one or withdrawing their children from school. The type of cash transfer referred to as “shock-responsive cash transfer” that is currently being implemented is utilized by countries worldwide to offer temporary relief in such situations.
President Tinubu presented symbolically cheques of N25,000 each to beneficiaries who were present at the flag off ceremony.
The Beneficiaries present at the flag were, Larai Suleiman, Shuaibu Hassana, Sariki Bala Gamu,Okor Jonah and Hameed Kosemani Isiaka.