By Chinenye Anuforo
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has launched an Unconditional Cash Transfer project targeting the poor and vulnerable in the FCT, with a specific focus on women and youth. With a total contribution of N 264,499,200 million (equivalent to US $694,679.43), the project seeks to alleviate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on beneficiaries and strengthen the resilience of communities in council areas across the FCT.
15,253 individual households in key hotspot areas across the FCT will benefit from the UNDP cash transfers, while 2,972 MSMEs and start-ups will receive funding for business continuity to help benefit their communities. For individual households, 50% of the cash transfers will be allotted to women, while 80% of MSMEs and informal businesses fund will be dedicated to youth.
FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, noted that this intervention, would go a long way to minimise the effects of job losses and improve the livelihood of communities by ensuring that humanitarian and recovery assistance reaches the most vulnerable. “The COVID-19 global health emergency and its economic and social impacts have disrupted nearly all aspects of life for groups in Nigeria, especially vulnerable youth and women, and poses considerable risks in the area of education, employment, mental health and disposable income”, she explained. “I am confident that through targeted intervention such as this, Nigerians will come out stronger and the country will realise areas to strengthen capacity building in human resource.”
UNDP is drawing on lessons learned and an ever-changing context to ensure that COVID-19 support is dynamic and flexible. In Nigeria, with support from key partners under the One UN COVID-19 response, UNDP is pivoting to address the increasingly severe social and economic impacts of the pandemic and support the rights-based social contracts needed for lasting change.
“The primary and secondary effects of the pandemic could reverse decades of human development gains and jeopardize the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) unless immediate action is taken.” –Mr. Mohamed Yahya, UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria said. “Support, specifically to youth and women, in the area of employment and business continuity will have long-term beneficial effects. With a vibrantly young cohort, who are tech- savvy and entrepreneurial, the opportunities to harness youth for sustainable development are unlimited. This unconditional cash transfer aims to help achieve these short and long-term objectives”.