From Joe Effiong
The minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has advised Nigerian women not to regard the N20, 000 special grant given to the rural woman by the federal government as the fabled national cake.
She has rather charged the beneficiaries to judiciously use the grant to improve their living standard by utilizing it as seed capital do boost their trades and businesses for greater income.
Speaking through Bashir Nura Alkali, the permanent secretary of the ministry, at the flag off of the Grant for Rural Women Project and the symbolic disbursement of the grant to 2700 women of Akwa Ibom state, in Uyo, on Thursday, Farouq explained that the Grant for Rural Women Programme was introduced in 2020 to sustain the social inclusion agenda of President Buhari’s Administration.
“It is consistent with the President’s now national vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. It is designed to provide a one-off grant to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural and peri-urban areas of the country. A cash grant of N20,000.00 will be disbursed to about 125,000 poor women across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Our target in Akwa Ibom State is to disburse the grant to about 2,700 beneficiaries across all Local Government Councils. The grant is expected to increase income and productive assets of target beneficiaries,” she said.
According to the minister. since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2015, the federal government has paid more attention to addressing the plight of the poor and vulnerable in the country despite the economic slump and glaring revenue challenges, especially as poverty reduction has become a major objective of governments all over the world and a key goal every country is working towards in order to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
She said no single approach can be relied upon to achieve poverty reduction goal, hence a combination of strategies, each targeting specific sectors among the population, and that informed the decision by the federal government to initiate the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) as a strategy for reducing poverty and enhancing social inclusion.
“The NSIP is adjudged as the largest social protection programme in Africa with over $1billion earmarked annually to cause positive changes in the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable in the country.
“Since its introduction in 2016, the social investment programme has impacted positively on the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria as millions of households have benefitted from these NSIP interventions in the last 5 years. This included payment of a monthly Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) of N5,000.00 to 1 million indigent Nigerians to protect them against economic shocks and gradually elevate them out of poverty.
Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel represented on the occasion by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr Ini Adiakpan commended the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari for putting in place poverty alleviation programmes mostly targeted at women.
“Today, I join the beneficiaries of this particular Cash grant, to thank the government for this N20,000 one-off grant to the rural women. This money will go a long way in cushioning the hard economic realities birthed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Akwa Ibom State Womem are known for their enterprise and industry. Our rural women engage mostly in petty trading, farming, plam oil production, soap making and would stop at nothing if assisted to expand their trade and vocation.
“The government of Akwa Ibom State led by an enterprising and women friendly Governor, His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel since assumption of office has vigorously pursued programmes aimed at not only mitigating poverty but also to restore the dignity of women in the state,” she stated.
Speaking on behalf of other beneficiaries, Mrs Caroline Usen praised President Buhari for the programme, saying the money would be judiciously utilised., “Today is a great day. We are happy and we will use the money judiciously. We thank the President who has done this for us. May God bless him”.