The Federal Government has started the digitisation of payment of the Conditional Cash Transfer programme to the poor for accountability and transparency, according to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq.

The pilot programme, which is in six states of the federation, is in apparent response to the concerns of many Nigerians over the administration of the various programmes for the poor embarked upon by Buhari’s administration that had lately been engulfed in controversies.

The leadership of the National Assembly had asked for improvement, including legislation for effectiveness and inclusiveness.

Hajia Farouq, who is team leader in the provision of relief materials to the poor, the vulnerable and persons living with disabilities,  in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, stated this in her state tours to Imo, Anambra, Lagos and Ogun states to check the  effectiveness of the Federal Government’s ongoing payment of N20,000 Conditional Cash Transfer programme.

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The minister had earlier flagged off the programme and distributed relief materials in Kwali area council in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and was in Ihu, Ikeduru and Ihiala local government areas of Imo and Anambra states respectively.

She said her visit to the states was to inspect the CCT programme and carry out symbolic distribution of relief materials as well as meet stakeholders and beneficiaries.

“My visits are intended to inspect the programme, meet with various stakeholders  and beneficiaries. We want to continue to explain to the people how the programme works. The idea is to ensure accountability and transparency and assure them that the exercise is ongoing and continuous,’’ she said.

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The minister disclosed that one of the steps taken by the ministry to ensure accountability and transparency was piloting digital payment in six states.

She said:  “One of the priorities of the ministry is to digitise the payment of Conditional Cash Transfer programme for accountability and transparency. We will continue to expand the digitalisation.’’

In the same vein, the minister also presented relief materials on behalf of the Federal Government in all the states visited.

“In all the states I visited, I also presented relief materials on behalf of the Federal Government. In my interaction with governors, I implored the state governments to prioritise the poor, vulnerable and persons with disabilities as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.”

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The minister, who commended the state governors for their commitment towards implementation of the CCT programme and distribution of relief materials, restated the Federal Government’s commitment to economically vulnerable and poor Nigerians.

She said: President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned about poor and vulnerable Nigerians. Our priority is to implement the president’s agenda of reaching out to ordinary Nigerians. And as a ministry, we remain committed to the poor, vulnerable and persons with disabilities.’’

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