FG Pays N37.5m To Support Poor Persons In Benue

The Federal Government has so far paid N37.5m to support the

poor in Benue under its Social Re-investment Programme.

Mrs Mary Igwe, an official with the State Unit of the Cash Transfer

Office, said the money was paid to 938 extremely poor and vulnerable

persons in the state.

Igwe said at a training programme for cash transfer facilitators on

Tuesday in Makurdi, that each beneficiary received N10,000 every two

months.

The training has as its theme, “Enrollment of Cash Transfer

Beneficiaries using New Mobile Application”.

She said that the programme which covered seven local government areas

of the state, began eight months ago.

According to her, the disbursement of the funds commenced after an

agreement between the Federal and Benue Government on the

implementation of the social welfare intervention programme.

She said the beneficiaries had been encouraged to form “financially

active groups where so many have benefited from the contribution

scheme.”

On the training, Igwe said it was to acquaint the facilitators on the

use of relevant technologies to enrol new beneficiaries into the

scheme.

“The State Cash Transfer Unit has received a list of 4,832 names from

the National Cash Transfer office drawn from the National Social

Insurance registry for the purpose of re-enrollment using the newly

acquired application.

” The application is intended to automate data captured in the field

while minimizing data acquisition related problems.”

She said that the aim was to weed out those who were better off, and

allow only the poorest to benefit from the programme.

The official explained that the register had to be updated to

accommodate new beneficiaries while those not within the target group

were dropped.

Also speaking, the National Coordinator, Cash Transfer Office, Dr

Timitope Sinkaye, commended the Benue state government for implementing the

four components of the Social Insurance Programme.

The four components being implemented in Benue include; School

feeding, N-Power, G-Power and the Cash Transfer programmes.

The programs were part of the social intervention program of President

Muhammadu Buhari to alleviate poverty in the country by targeting the

poorest of the poor.

Sinkaye appealed to the state government to assist the facilitators

with motorcycles to enable them cover rural areas, as the social

insurance program was the most important aspect of the SIP.

“It is in the forefront of the scheme of President Buhari’s efforts in

tackling poverty across the state by uplifting the most vulnerable out

of the poverty bracket within a time frame, ” she added.

The national coordinator said identification of vulnerable poor in

communities across the country was ongoing, adding that “as more

people are discovered, more beneficiaries will be captured”.

She, however, admitted that the process leading to the identification

and payment was cumbersome, but assured that efforts were been

intensified to overcome the hurdles.

Sinkaye explained that the program was not just about cash transfers

but also about building the capacities of beneficiaries to transform

their lives.

The coordinator, however, lamented that the program was encumbered by

challenges, especially in the area of electronic cash transfer to

beneficiaries.

“The commonest challenges we have are poor internet connectivity, lack

of banking infrastructure and mobile money agents in rural areas.”

She disclosed that in overcoming some of the challenges, beneficiaries

were now given specific dates and time for the disbursement of their

allowances.

Sinkaye warned the facilitators against sharp practices as anyone

caught would be sacked.