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SSG restates Delta’s commitment to poverty alleviation

UGHELLI—SECRETARY to Delta State government, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has restated the state government’s determination to partner the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) in its quest to eradicate poverty in the state.

Okowa, who spoke yesterday during the flag off ceremony for the implementation of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) COPE  programme at Orerokpe, Okpe local government area of the state, said the state government recognized that poverty has many strands that intertwine and could pull people into a downward spiral.

According to him, tackling of one factor may not be enough to lift a family out of poverty and that only an effective poverty reduction strategy, such as this programme, is put in place to tackle all fronts.

Okowa, who spoke through the state Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Ochor, said:  “It is for this reason that the 3-point agenda of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administration has put in place such programme as Delta State Micro Credits Scheme, Youth Empowerment Scheme and other skill acquisition programmes.”

Earlier in  his address, the State Coordinator and Chairman, Joint Implementation Committee of NAPEP, Mr. Austin Igbine, said the programme would run for a period of one year, adding that the state was being used as a pilot phase in the country.

He said 10 local government areas had been selected in the state to test run the implementation of the programme.
Igbine said the programme was aimed at breaking the intergenerational transfer of poverty through investment in human capital development of children and wards of the extremely poor in the country.

According to him,  the programme is designed to alleviate the sufferings and difficulties of the less privileged individuals in their society.

“The programme provides for a monthly cash grant of N5,000 to each selected household for a period of one year; it is not just grant but it is targeted to keep the children and wards of poor households who are of basic school age in school. It also seeks to cater for the medical upkeep of children and wards of beneficiaries,” he said.

According to him, “also as part of the scheme, an adult from each benefiting household will be trained on a skill of its own choice by an agency of the Federal Government called Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

“At the end of the training which comes up in the sixth month of the programme, a total sum of N84,000 shall be given to each household to enable such benefiting household start-up his or her own business for the upkeep of the family”.

He said this was the second stage of the programme which could dovetail into the third and final stage of becoming self-reliant and financially independent, noting that a total of N72 million shall be disbursed in this phase of the scheme for one year.

Igbine added that Delta State government also made available N72 million as counterpart funding for  the programme.


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