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Five years after, less than half of poor Nigerian households benefit from FG’s cash transfer


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THE National Cash Transfer Office (NCTO) has confirmed to The ICIR  that about 1,126,211 poor and vulnerable households are currently benefiting from the Federal Government’s conditional cash transfer.

This is less than half of the total number of households captured in the national social register.

Henry Ayede, spokesperson of the NCTO confirmed this to our reporter in a phone chat with him.

The program started 2015 with 14 states and has expanded to accommodate more states five years on.

The Federal Government allocated N500 billion in the 2016 budget for the implementation of its social welfare agenda. The government also budgeted the same amount for social programmes in the 2017 budget.

Data of the beneficiaries exclusively obtained by The ICIR revealed that of the 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory, North West region tops with the highest number of households benefiting from the cash transfer with a number of 561,758 households. Ogun State is yet to benefit from the program.

Others are North Central- 321,434, North East- 109,442, South South- 67,696, South West- 37,904, and South East- 27,977 households.

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Top five states with the highest number of beneficiaries are Katsina- 133,227, Zamfara- 130,764, Jigawa- 99,044, Kano- 84,148, and Plateau- 78,430.

State distribution of beneficiaries of cash transfer

The ICIR in 2018 investigated how the poor Nigerians were deprived of the federal government’s cash transfer.

The report also revealed that as of May 2018, exactly 503,005 poor and vulnerable households were captured in the social register in 20 states while only 297,973 received the financial assistance. As it stands now, the figure of the poor and vulnerable households on the social register has grown to 2,644,495 representing about 425.7 percent increase, while the beneficiaries of the CCT have grown by 278 percent.

Following criticisms from the public on how the Federal Government was able to compile the list of the most vulnerable Nigerians who get the N20,000 cash transfer to cushion the economic effect of the coronavirus disease, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that N20,000 be paid to each vulnerable household through the social investment scheme to cushion the economic impact of the lock down arising from the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

Ayede confirmed to The ICIR that beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer are drawn from the National Social Register (NSR) based on the clearly defined criteria, noting that not all individuals and households in the register would benefit from the cash transfer.

The NSR is a pool of vulnerable and poor households captured by the National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO) through community-based targeting.

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The NASSCO had on Friday, April 10, released the number of all households and individuals on the register, showing that 2.64 million and 11 million households and individuals respectively have been captured on the register from 35 states and the FCT excluding Ogun State.

It is to be noted that not all current households are beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer.

In another phone interview with Joe Abuku, spokesperson of NASSCO to ascertain the data obtained by The ICIR, he said, “plus or minus, the figure of those benefiting from the CCT will be around 1.1 million”

However, in a report by the Guardian newspaper, Iorwa Apera, National Coordinator of the NASSCO was quoted to have said the cash transfer is paying one million poor and vulnerable households.

“At the moment, the cash transfer is paying one million poor and vulnerable households. We plan to rapidly increase this number to two million in the next payment round in May,” Apera disclosed.

Head of Data Unit, International Centre For Investigative Reporting, ICIR.
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