*Insists Boko Haram has been technically defeated
By Charles Kumolu
LAGOS — THE Federal Government, yesterday, explained how it would fund the N5,000 monthly welfare payment to vulnerable Nigerians just as it reaffirmed that the Boko Haram insurgency had been technically suppressed.
Mohammed, who was accompanied by his Special Assistant, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, was received by Vanguard’s Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye and Acting Editor, Mr. Eze Anaba, said beneficiaries of the N5,000 monthly payment would be required to meet conditions, including enrolment into the country’s development agenda.
The minister also disclosed that the insurgents had been restricted into two local government areas of the 30 local government areas they controlled at the onset of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Funding of N5,000 welfare scheme
On how the funding of the N5,000 welfare scheme would be achieved, Mohammed said: “What we want to achieve by our social intervention of which the conditional transfer is just one part, is to move out millions of Nigerians from poverty. That is why we have this half a trillion naira social intervention.
“Part of what we intend to do with the half a trillion naira is to train market women, artisans and unemployed graduates in the art of management and also give them loans to start their own businesses. Part of our social intervention also includes the transfer of N5,000 to the most vulnerable people.
“And we are being partnered in this by the World Bank and other multilateral organisations. It has been done in many countries before and we believe that it can be done here. Many people have written ridiculously about N5,000 and claimed that it is not up to what they spend on recharge cards. And we said yes, those who are writing such things are not the average Nigerians we are seeking to help.
“If you look at the lady who is selling water melon or pawpaw, she does not have up to N5,000 capital. People don’t know that N5,000 can be meaningful for many Nigerians because they are too comfortable in their corners. They do not know that N5,000 can make the difference between life and death for many Nigerians.
“Many people have died because they cannot afford transportation to the health centres. We are grappling with the reality on ground and we know that this conditional cash transfer is working in some states and it is being piloted by DIFID. In Jigawa, Yobe, and Kano, a British group is tying the conditional N5,000 transfer on a pilot scheme.
“When we say conditional transfer, it means that you must show evidence that you have enrolled your children in school and immunised them. It is not just that we are giving you money free, you must also show evidence that you have complied with some obligations. We know it works because it has increased school enrolment, led to a drop in mortality rate and decline in stunted growth.
“Apart from blockages and savings, there are many government institutions today, who ought to be returning money to the treasury but they are not doing so. We know that some organisations made over N20 billion last year but returned less than N100 million to the treasury.
“This is why the idea of the Treasury Single Account is so important to us. We are going back to the basics. We believe that the money for this project will come from savings, budget and prudent management. Also we are going to have support from multilateral organisations, especially in the area of cash transfer. Again some of these projects are not just recurrent, they are also capital in a way.”