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FG to disburse N75,000 to 15mn households under cash transfer program

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The federal government has disclosed plans to disburse at least N75,000 to 15 million households in three years. This is as it strategies on reintroducing the cash transfer program which was suspended in January 2024.

Wale Edun, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy disclosed this in an interview on channels television, which was monitored by BusinessDay.

According to the Minister, the program is part of efforts of President Tinubu to ameliorate the hardship, including elevated food prices being experienced across the country.

“What I think is important to say at this time is that food prices at this time are elevated and we all know it is part of the general expected rise in inflation amacroeconomiconomic measures, as the reform measures, the corrective measures to put the economy on a straight path take effect.

“But I think the important thing to point out at this time is that the focus Mr. President, is on keeping his promise, particularly to the poor and vulnerable, as food prices elevates and the purchasing power is limited. And that is what Mr President is speaking to directly through the intervention of direct payments of N75,000 each, in three years, that is N25,000 a month to 15 million households. And each household is about five people. So that effectively provides funding for 75 million people,” he said.

According to him, the program which was suspended by President Tinubu in January due to cases of corruption, has been revamped, adding that beneficiaries would be expected to have their National Identification Number (NIN), Bank Verification Number (BVN) or access to mobile money account to ensure that the right people are paid and that the system fraud-free.

He explained that in addition to other intervention programs aimed to ensure access to affordable foods for the avNigerianigeria, the government has planned to provide an additional 60,000 metric tons of grains for food and feed mills.

The minister also disclosed that another N50 billion non-refundable grant will be distributed to at least 1000 artisans, traders, and nano businesses in all 774 government areas in the country.

“This is in effort to increase the availability of food in the market, of course there was a release of 42,000 metric tons of grain from the strategic reserves and another 60,000 metric tons to come.

“This is all in a bid to make sure there’s food in the marketplace but more importantly the emphasis now is on making sure purchasing power to buy the foods is in the hands of the poor and the vulnerable in our society in particular.

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“So given that, at the time of the kind of cost of living spike that we are seeing, the most direct way is to give people money, allow them to go to the market and buy.

“So in addition to the direct payments system that has now been revamped and will now be immediately implemented is also one attempt to give artisans, traders, women, youths, and nano businesses a grant,non-repayableble grant of N50,000 on the same Intervention Programme scheme of Mr. President.

“And in this particular case, there will be digital verification, just like with the direct payment and s, and direct transfer procedure. And in this particular case, it will cover at least 1000 people in all 774 local governments. And that programme will now be another N50 billion and the important thing is to know to the extent that this is the most direct way to help people at this time, it can be expanded. It can be continued until we find a more stable environment in terms of food production, prices, and affordability through increased spending power of the poor people.

“That is the situation at the moment that is the effect that is the concentration. It is a commitment of this government to ensure that the poor and the vulnerable are taken care of at this particular time of elevated prices,” he said.

Speaking further, the minister noted that the government’s finances have been revamped and repaired, especially with the removal of the petroleum subsidy which was costing about N400 billion monthly to the government.

He said that there has also been an effort to ensure that the people’s money is not in the hands of a few, “and on that point, I must emphasise that when we talk about the fact that the last eight years before Mr President came to power, on the 29th of May 2023. There was this liquidity build up, of which funds were going to a few. Only 5 per cent of the populace who have bank accounts that have more than half a million.

“That is the macroeconomic reform that has been put in place. So therefore, now government revenue that was outside the federal government’s consolidated account has been diligently identified and it is being collected, being taken from the various pockets and brought into the federal system. And going forward, the federal government enterprises have a much stricter regime of cost management,” he said.

He noted that oil production and sales have gone up from 1.25 million barrels a day when the President assumed office to around 1.65 mbd adding that the intent is to ensure that the level of oil production and sales remained at elevated levels.

He hinted on the ongoing plans to achieve a 70 percent increase in the amount of tax revenue collected, not by increasing taxes but by applying technology. “We do have a fiscal policy and tax reform committee, which is rounding off his work and about to roll out new measures which make taxation less burdensome, even administratively less burdensome, reduce the number of taxes, and do away with frivolous levies.

“In the financial markets funds are being garnered, revenue is being raised with a particular intent to pay down the Ways and Means and have the government’s accounts in balance. That is the commitment of this administration and the strategy to achieving that in the nearest future has been well laid out,” he said.

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