Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, has said that through SIM card registration, the federal government has been able to provide necessary cash assistance, food items and other relief materials to extremely poor Nigerians.
He said that the government embarked on the palliatives-sharing exercise following the hardship that citizens are facing as a result of the lockdown and restriction of movements in some states.
Mr Pantami made this known while fielding questions during an interview session. He said that through data mining process facilitated by SIM card registration, the federal government was able to identify persons who are in dire need government’s support and also detected their poverty level.
The Minister said: “Through data mining, we have discovered those that need urgent intervention when it comes to feeding, and also meeting other basic necessities of life.
“The federal government has been assisting many poor citizens on a weekly basis. Sometimes, our officials directly distribute food packages to their homes. And one of the most effective ways we used to identify very poor persons is by looking at how much they top-up their mobile lines every month.
“There are those whose monthly top-up is less than 1 dollar or let me say, N300. And with this, we were able to categorize their poverty level, see what they need, and how government can assist them.”
He further stressed the government’s dedication to catering for the poor and vulnerable who have been hit by the lockdown.