The Federal Government has started the payment of N1.6 billion to 167,000 women considered to be poor and vulnerable in Jigawa.
This is part of government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme.
Malam Mustafa Yakubu, the Training and Communication Officer, State Cash Transfer Unit (SCTU), made this known to newsmen on Saturday in Kiyawa, Jigawa State.
He spoke after monitoring the exercise at Andaza and Shuwarin villages of Kiyawa Local Government Area.
Yakubu said the funds were disbursed to beneficiaries via Fund and Electronic Transfer Solution (FETS Wallet), engaged by the National Cash Transfer Office.
He explained that the payment was for the months of May and June and that each beneficiary got N10,000.
“In Jigawa, we have not less than 167,000 beneficiaries in the 27 local government areas.
“For the all components of the programme, we are paying not less than N1.6 billion every two months,’’ Yakubu said.
He expressed satisfaction with the payment, but expressed the need for the process to be more ICT-savvy.
“The application of ICT will remove the need for beneficiaries to gather in one place to collect the money.
“This will help in curtailing insecurity issues surrounding the process and help the financial education of the beneficiaries.
“Higher deployment of ICT will also help other business activities like the POS service and the observance of social distancing protocol of COVID-19,’’ he said.
According to him, SCTU also conducts coaching and mentoring for the beneficiaries on how best to utilise the money, particularly in investments.
“Some beneficiaries are already into one petty business or the other. So we train and advise them on how best to use the money in their businesses and trades.
“Some of them formed cap-making groups, some formed cooperative groups, while others engage in small scale businesses,’’ Yakubu added.
Some of the beneficiaries, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Andaza village, thanked the Federal Government for the gesture, saying that the stipend had transformed their lives.
Harira Ahmad said the N10,000 bimonthly stipends had enabled her cap making business.
“While I share the money with my co-wife, I am still able to increase the number of caps I produce.
“Using the money, I was also able to buy a goat which gave birth to two kids,’’ Ahmad said.
Another beneficiary, Hajara Abbas, a nursing mother, said apart from investing the money in cap-making and animals rearing, she also used part of it in taking care of her pregnancy.
“Before now, I used to produce only two caps, but now I produce three and more. I also used part of the money to eat good food that will enable me to give birth to a healthy baby.
“Honestly this money is tackling the issue of malnutrition and risk of child and maternal mortality among us,’’ Abbas said.
Hauwa Idi, said she used the money to access antenatal and postnatal services.
“Whenever my husband couldn’t give me transport money to go to Kiyawa Hospital, I make sure I use this money to do so.
“I also make sure I eat good food because it will be for me and for my baby,’’ Idi said.
Also speaking at Shuwarin village disbursement point, Hajara Rabi’u, said she used the money she got for the first time to attend to her ill-health.
“After that, I invested in animals rearing, and as I’m talking to you now, I have four sheep and three goats, apart from three he-goats that I sold.
“The money from the three he-goats was what I used to venture into groundnut milling and groundnut oil production at my own level.
“And all this is in addition to my initial cap making business. So we’re really grateful to this government,’’ she said.
The CCT programme requires that beneficiaries meet certain criteria like enrolling their children in public schools and getting regular check-ups at the hospital.
It seeks to break the cycle of poverty through the development of human capital.