The Federal Government on Saturday inaugurated its N20,000 cash grant each for 3,500 rural women drawn from the 20 local government areas (LGAs) of Ogun.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Faruq, performed the ceremony at the Obas Complex in Abeokuta.
Faruq, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Bashir Alkali, said the grant was designed “to give a lifting hand to some of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens”.
She said that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had paid priority attention to the welfare of the poor and vulnerable since its inception, in spite of its revenue challenges.
The minister said: “Poverty reduction has become a major objective of governments all over the world.
“This informed the president’s decision to initiate the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) as a strategy for poverty reduction and enhancement of social inclusion.
“The NSIP is adjudged as the largest social protection programme in Africa with over one billion dollars earmarked annually to cause positive change in the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable.
“Since its introduction in 2016, the social investment programme has impacted positively on the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria.
“It is on record that so far, over 12 million households have benefitted from NSIP interventions.
“This includes the payment of a monthly Conditional Cash Transfer of N5,000 to one million indigent Nigerians to protect them against economic shocks and lift them out of poverty.
“No fewer than 1.1 million micro and small business owners accessed loans to boost productivity, increase income and reduce poverty under the Government Enterprise Enhancement Programme (GEEP).
“The N-Power programme provided temporary income-generating opportunities for 500,000 unemployed youths.
“Also, about 8.6 million primary 1-3 pupils in public schools are currently receiving one meal per day under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.
“It is in view of this, that Buhari graciously approved the expansion of the programme to touch more lives and lift more Nigerians above the poverty line.
“With the creation of this ministry in 2019, these programmes have been restructured and revamped to respond to the peculiarities of different parts of the country.
“This is to ensure that the right beneficiaries are targeted and to enhance impact on the beneficiaries,” she said.
Faruq said that the ministry was also working tirelessly to address some of the socio-economic problems that bedevilled all parts of the country.
According to her, the grant for rural women was introduced in 2020 to sustain the social inclusion agenda of the president.
“It is consistent with the president’s national vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years,” she said.
The minister said that no fewer than 125,000 rural women across the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory would benefit from the “one-off” grant.
She advised the beneficiaries to commit the money into any small business venture they deemed fit to improve their living standards.
Faruq expressed optimism that the grant would increase the income and productive assets of the beneficiaries.
“I am optimistic that with the support and cooperation of the Ogun government and other stakeholders, we will remain on track to improving the livelihood of the ordinary Nigerian,” she said.
Mrs Abike Adebayo, a beneficiary from Odeda LGA, commended the federal government for the gesture.
Adebayo said the grant would go a long way in enhancing her poultry business.