The Establishment of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development by President Muhammadu Buhari in August 21, 2019 and headed by Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq is beyond visionary (To have social protection systems that are proactive, humane, inclusive and sustainable for the improvement and general welfare of the people) but aims at lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty through various programs of the ministry.
The President alluded to this in a video message to a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on poverty eradication.
According to him, “Nigeria attaches great importance to poverty eradication.
“It is my conviction that devoting our efforts towards human capital development, efficient management of our resources, greater financial inclusion, and transformation of the agricultural sector to ensure food security are crucial to poverty eradication.
“In this regard, Nigeria continues to strengthen its existing social safety net initiative by increasing access to enrollees who fit the various programmes in the scheme”.
Undoubtedly, Nigerians are currently enjoying benefits of poverty alleviation through the National Social Investment Programme which aims at enhancing the social inclusion of the poorest and vulnerable groups in the country, with programmes such as the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programmes (GEEP), the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, N-Power, and the Conditional Cash Transfer spread across the 36 states of the Federal and the Federal Capital Territory.
To further enhance her social welfare programmes especially to the vulnerable groups, the ministry introduced the Grant for Vulnerable Group (GVG) formerly Grant for Rural Women in 2020 to sustain the social inclusion agenda of President Buhari’s Administration.
The Ministry in June 20, 2022 in Osun State officially flagged off the disbursement of 20,000 Grant for Vulnerable Group (GVG) for Rural Women programme which aims at increasing income and productive assets of target beneficiaries
The Grant also aims at increasing access to financial capital required for economic and income-generating activities,
promote financial inclusion among unbanked and underserved populations; and contribute towards improving their living standard.
The Grant targets poor rural and peri-urban women and youths within the productive age bracket of 18-60 years with special consideration is given to the following vulnerable groups
Persons with disability
Forcibly displaced persons (internally displaced persons, returnees, etc)
Widows and orphans.
The total number of target beneficiaries for this round of the programme is 195,000 as beneficiaries were selected from all 36 States and FCT with special consideration given to the prevalence of poverty.
The programme is designed to provide a one-off grant to the poorest and most vulnerable women and youths in rural and peri-urban areas of the country
To ensure inclusiveness, the Ministry is working with relevant stakeholders to identify, select and mobilize beneficiaries, and these stakeholders include the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMWA), State Governments, National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPWD), National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs (NCFRMI), National Senior Citizen Center (NSCC) and relevant nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
For Transparency and Accountability, the Ministry engaged the services of Payment Service Providers (PSPs), all registered by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for disbursement of funds through United Payments, Upper Link Limited and Visual ICT Limited.
The 20,000 cash grant is paid to target beneficiaries using physical payment and through bank accounts or wallets.
Fund to be disbursed is entirely lodged in PSPs account for disbursement using clearly defined guidelines while enrolment into the programme, registration and payment of grant are all automated and a robust programme database has been deployed
Basic information (including biodata and biometric) on beneficiaries is required for disbursement.
The Minister in July, 2022 while speaking recently at a media parley and a re-launch Programme in Abuja on the second round of 20,000 disbursement to grant for vulnerable groups announced the inclusion of men to the grant.
Farouq stated that out of the total number of beneficiaries, 30% of men will benefit from the cash grant to encourage social inclusion, while women are 70%, and 15% of the total beneficiaries must be Persons with disabilities.
In addition, about 15% of the total number of beneficiaries is specifically allocated to the segment of the population with special needs, including Persons with Disability (PWDs) and senior citizens in the Country, forcibly displaced persons (internally displaced persons, returnees, etc), Widows and orphans.
The Programme is targeted at poor rural and peri-urban women and men within the productive age of 18 and above.
Farouq noted that the re-launched programme which was hitherto known as Cash Grant for Rural Women will now be known as Grant for Vulnerable Groups to encourage inclusivity.
Explaining she said “Our target in the FCT is to disburse the grant to over 2,900 beneficiaries across the 6 Area Councils which is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s social inclusion.
She alluded to the fact that the prorgramme has impacted positively on the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria.
“I have personally witnessed the life-changing experiences of people who lived below the poverty line and those that are vulnerable to shocks”.
While the grant disbursement is ongoing, 5570 Vulnerable Groups in Bayelsa has also received the Cash Grant.
Presently, the National Social Investment Programs has reduced the poverty index in the country to 43% which was hitherto 70%, despite this feat, President Muhammadu Buhari led administration is still not resting on its oars to ensure that Nigeria’s poverty index is reduced by over 20%.