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Spending Abacha’s loot, borrowing $500 million… 10 points summary of FG’s cash transfer scheme

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MARYAM Uwais, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments invited the ICIR for a meeting on Monday last week after an investigation into how the poorest Nigerians have been excluded from the cash transfer scheme.

Uwais did not fault the accuracy of the report but rather said the meeting was to provide what she described as the context to the data.

The meeting was honoured by Dayo Aiyetan, Executive Director of ICIR;  Ajibola Amzat, editor of the ICIR and Eze Onyepkere, Executive Director, Centre for Social Justice.

Based on the interactions at the meeting and the investigation by the ICIR, here are the 10 points summary of the cash transfer scheme.

  1. Campaign promise: The All Progressives Congress (APC) and Muhammadu Buhari, its presidential candidate to the 2015 general elections promised to give N5, 000 every month to one million poorest Nigerians.
  2. Promise fulfilled: In a hurry to appear to have fulfilled the campaign promise, the federal government began to pay some lucky Nigerians in December 2016 in eight states. Currently, 297, 973 people are benefitting from the scheme in 20 states.
  3. Selection of beneficiaries: The beneficiaries are selected from the National Social Register. As of June, 503,005 poor and vulnerable households have been captured in the social register in 20 states.
  4. Mode of payment: Each beneficiary receives cash of N10, 000 every two months, either at the local government headquarters or any other designated place.
  5. Funding: The cash transfer scheme has been funded as part of the N500 billion social investments captured in the federal government budget since 2016. In addition, the $332 million recovered from Sani Abacha and about $500 million facility from the World Bank will go into the scheme.
  6. States sign MoU: For any state to benefit from the cash transfer scheme, the state must sign a memorandum of understanding with the federal government. The requirement is that the state must provide an office and staff to run the cash transfer programme.
  7. Not all poor households are paid: The selection of beneficairies is determined by the place of residence and individuals’ luck. In fact, not even all the enumerated poor and vulnerable households in the social register will benefit from the cash transfer.
  8. Three years duration: The beneficiaries are expected to be paid for three years, upon which there will be a review.
  9. Total disbursement: The National Cash Transfer Office says N20 billion has been disbursed to the beneficiaries since December 2016.
  10. Poorest Nigerians skipped: A household will not benefit from the scheme if it is not in the selected community or local government area no matter how poor and vulnerable the house is. In some states, only 30 communities are selected in each local government.

For details on the cash transfer scheme, read the ICIR’s investigation here or read an aspect of the interactions with Uwais here.

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Chikezie can be reached at comeje@icirnigeria.org. Follow him on Twitter: @KezieOmeje

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