MDGs: FG, States Lift 56,000 Rural Poor Nigerians Out Of Poverty

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  • Sends 224,000 Children Back To School

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A total of 56, 000 indigent Nigerians will practically walk out of poverty, while a total of 224, 000 children of school age are sustained in school in the first implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme implemented under the Millennium Development Goals framework (MDGs). This was disclosed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals, Dr Precious Kalamba Gbeneol at the National Launch of the Conditional Cash transfer Scheme under the conditional grants Scheme to States held in Ekiti yesterday.

According to the SSAP-MDGs, “the Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs is a programme introduced by the Federal Government to extend cash transfers to extremely poor households on the condition that they make certain investments in the human capital development of their children or wards. The programme specifically conditions access to grants on either health or education with the transfer of agricultural enterprise as a component. These components are considered vital to Nigeria’s march towards meeting the MDGs.”

The SSAP-MDGs stated that in this round of CCT implementation, 56,000 households will benefit from the scheme and this would significantly affect the economic landscape of the participating rural communities in the implementing States. In addition, the scheme would have seen that over 224,000 basic school age children who were in danger of dropping out of school are prevented from doing so. Furthermore, maternal and infant mortality would have been reduced significantly.
Speaking at the event, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi noted the implementation of the CCT scheme is a noble way of tackling poverty in the land and giving succour to the poor populace. He enjoined the beneficiaries to take advantage of the kind gesture to walk out of poverty.
In the first round of the scheme, a total of 250, 000 households of about six persons from each family are benefiting from the scheme.
The beneficiaries were full of appreciations for the MDGs boss and the Governor of Ekiti State for taking steps to alleviate their plights.
Originally conceived in 2007, the CCT to date, has witnessed several innovations towards its improvement. The scheme is gradually moving away from the centrally controlled CCT (which was initially implemented through NAPEP) to the State-owned CCT Scheme implemented using the vehicle of the Conditional Grants Scheme to States. This improvement has brought about tremendous increase in States’ buy-in and has not only led to increase in funds available to the programme through the payment of matching grants by State Governments, but has also created efficiency as well as a greater likelihood of sustainability of the scheme. 
The FG, through OSSAP-MDGs has progressively scaled-up the implementation of the CCT Scheme under the Conditional Grants Scheme to States from three States including the FCT in 2009 to ten (10) States in 2011. In 2012, an impressive participation of 24 States was recorded. This was made possible due to the flexibility in the implementation of the CCT Scheme which has paved way for State Government to modify conditionalities to suit their desire to meet the MDGs. This has now enabled the states to place education, nutrition, ante-natal care visits for pregnant women or other health criteria as conditions to assess the funds.

The e-based CCT implementation under the CGS to States marked a paradigm shift in Nigeria. It is the first electronic Conditional Cash Transfer (e-CCT) Scheme in Nigeria under a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement. States and Federal Government partner with a bank to electronically pay selected poor households. This has enabled the government to address the shortcomings of earlier methods where delay in payment and other irregularities were reported.

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