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FG Moves To Relaunch Direct Cash Transfer, Targets 12m Nigerians

The Federal Government has revealed plans to relaunch direct cash transfers to about 12 million vulnerable Nigerians amid the high cost of living in the country.

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun, disclosed this during the retreat organised by his ministry in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, on Wednesday.

Edun stated that while the initial project was designed for 3 million Nigerians, the current hardship has become a factor in increasing the number of recipients to 12 million.

The minister said, “The presidential panel on the social investment programmes has prepared to go to Mr. President with an internal recommendation to restart the direct payments to the poorest and the most vulnerable. Everything is being done to ease the pain.

“We know that there’s been about 3 million beneficiaries now, but given the way the rates have gone, there are probably another 12 million people, households that can benefit from that payment.”

Recall that President Bola Tinubu suspended the management of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA) and its programmes in January, which affected the conditional cash transfer programme and three others.

But, speaking about the recommencement of the cash transfer, Edun said the President would be well furnished about the programme and that technology will be used to ensure smooth and transparent payments, avoiding manual processes and delays.

He said, “The only thing delaying that is not waiting for the end of the report. It is something that the intervention is meant to happen immediately.

“We have experts in technology, the commitment was to make sure that we use technology to ensure that we have a seamless payment, a seamless movement between the registered and the direct beneficiaries, without any manual processes in between. So it’s taking time to automate that process immediately that direct payment will resume”.

He also spoke about the high cost of food prices and the government’s steps to address it by increasing food availability and driving down costs.

The minister reiterated President Bola Tinubu’s intervention to release 60,000 metric tonnes of food grains.

He said, “The goal is to put food, to put feed into the mill, into the market, in an attempt to drive down the cost of food and make food available. Right now, that is the key priority in terms of the fiscal side, in terms of the government side.”

While defending the cash transfer programme, the minister said, “History has shown, evidence has shown that when you pay someone directly, you put money in their hand. It reduces poverty because they decide where the shoe is pinching most.

“So it is a direct benefit, it has a direct effect on poverty. It alleviates, and there’s a commitment to immediately start that process. So that is, as far as these interventions are concerned and the landscape which we as a team are facing, we have a commitment to help to bring down inflation”.

“Growing the economy, creating jobs and lifting millions and millions of Nigerians out of poverty, that’s the ultimate goal of President Bola Tinubu and his economic policies.”

Tinubu introduced direct cash transfers to millions of Nigerians as one of the policies to ameliorate the hardship brought by fuel subsidy removal.

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