By: Freda Aideyan

As part of the Economic Sustainability Plan of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani-Aliyu, has disbursed funds to 5,054 beneficiaries of Social Investment Programme in the nation’s capital.

Accordingly, the figure is made up of 3,650 beneficiaries of Social Transfer Scheme, which is expected to run for 12 months of six cycles; and 1,404 beneficiaries of Livelihoods grant.

The Minister of State did the flag-off in a short ceremony, at the Conference Room of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Central Business District, Abuja, Tuesday. 

Tijjani-Aliyu revealed that beneficiaries would be receiving stipends of N20, 000.00 bimonthly payments, while beneficiaries under the Livelihood Grants programme would receive between N50, 000.00 to N135, 000.00, one-off payment, depending on the business category.

Her words: “This programme is anchored under the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) Scheme. It is designed to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants to poor and vulnerable households and firms.”

She added, “It also seeks to promote recovery of Medium Scales Enterprises (MSEs) in the country and revive the economy, especially in the rural areas, where over 70 percent of our population dwells”.

Tijjani-Aliyu, noted that beyond the NG-CARES initiatives, the FCT Administration in the course of the year implemented a set of other support programmes to residents of the Territory, including the FADAMA CARES, CSDP CARES and the AEA CARES at different times and locations.

The Minister of State described the event as promise kept and mission accomplished by the government; stressing that at the inception of Buhari’s administration, it released a blue-print for lifting 100 million people from poverty through comprehensive policies of Conditional Cash Transfer, Home Grown School Feeding, and the N-Power schemes, Government Economic and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), Trader Moni, Market Moni, and a host of others. 

Tijjani-Aliyu affirmed that these programmes have impacted positively on the lives of the ordinary citizens with testimonies of the huge successes achieved and recorded.

Presenting an overview of the programme, the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, said the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria led to the closure of many MSEs, loss of jobs, stalled provision of basic services in poor communities; and thereby increasing the population of Nigerians living below the poverty line.

Adesola explained that in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and desire of the government to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years, Nigeria sought and obtained assistance from the World Bank to the tune of USD 750 Million for on-lending to the states and FCT to implement a two-year emergency response programme, code named,“Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus” (NG-CARES).  

The Permanent Secretary stated that the NG-CARES programme seeks to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the livelihoods of poor individuals, farmers, vulnerable households, communities, and owners of Micro and Small Enterprises; adding that in FCThas domesticated the programme and code named it, FCT-CARES.

He added that the Administration has achieved major milestones in the orientation of new staff, training of soft skills for beneficiaries of livelihoods grant, procurement of payment service provider, enrolment training for Cash Transfer Facilitators (CTFs), Data Capturing of beneficiaries, as well as training of beneficiaries on Livelihood activities.