Humanitarian Affairs Minister Claims N5,000 Lifting Nigerians Out Of Poverty
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, has repeated the same narrative sponsored by the government that the N5,000 it gives to beneficiaries monthly can lift Nigerian families out of poverty.
Farouq also claimed that her ministry has lifted eight million people out of poverty with the N5,000 monthly stipend distributed through the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme.
The minister said these during an interview on Arise Tv.
Farouq had been criticized on the handling of the Covid-19 palliatives and the cash distributed to Nigerians as succor for the impact of the pandemic.
The Minister has been in office for two years and two months as she was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to head the ministry he created in August 2019.
The NSIPs are the President’s initiatives established in 2016 to help poor Nigerians, particularly unemployed youth and other vulnerable citizens, to cushion the effects of poverty on them.
The scheme involved cash transfers, cash-for-work (Conditional Cash Transfer Program), N-Power, national school feeding programme for primary school pupils (Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSF) and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP), a micro-lending investment program targeting entrepreneurs with a focus on young people and women.
Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that 33.3 per cent of Nigerians are unemployed, while the World Bank in June had said seven million Nigerians were pushed into poverty in 2020 alone.
Farouq said, “So far so good, the National Social Investment Program is one of the largest programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa. Government has committed about N400bn on this programme.
“We lift people out of poverty through the various programmes that we have on the National Social Investment Programme.
“We have four focuses on that programme. We have the N-Power programme which is the job creation programme and this programme is geared towards poor unemployed youths who have graduated and have no jobs.
“The other programme is the conditional transfer programme,and it is meant for the poor and vulnerable households where the government is also giving them stipends of N5,000 monthly. This is also another step towards alleviating poverty.
“It is beyond just buying food, when people talk about giving out handouts to people, that is an elitist statement, because I have been in the field, I know what N1,000 will do to those people.
“If judiciously used, with this N5,000 that we are giving monthly, we have households that have formed themselves into cooperatives and they are saving out of that N5,000 and they are using that saving to have some kind of businesses.
“So, it’s not a handout as far as I’m concerned. It is making a big difference and when we support youths in skills acquisition, that is not a handout. It is left to the individual whether to make judicious use of that support or not.
“But Mr. President is doing his best. We have seen it on the faces of this beneficiaries and they don’t see this support as handouts, it goes a long way in uplifting them out of poverty, It goes a long way in making a difference in their living standard.”
The Minister said by her criteria, the ministry of humanitarian affairs has lifted 8 million people out of poverty.
“In my ministry, I know that we have supported over 8 million individuals. That is since the inception of these programmes and on the home grown feeding programme we are supporting about 9.8 million children; primary school children from primary one to three where the government is feeding them with one meal per day.”
The minister however declined to state how much the ministry needs to drive its programmes and lift Nigerians out of poverty.
Farouk said, “I cannot say precisely how much we need, but we need more than what we have. Given the limited resources, we do not have enough, we still need more, we are reaching out to people. That will be in millions, I do not want to mention billions, because that might scare partners.”