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8m Nigerians,1.6m Households Benefit From Cash Transfer Programme — Buhari

By Our Reporter

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja said the ongoing efforts to reduce poverty in the coun­try continued to grow with 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households, com­prising more than 8 million individ­uals currently benefiting from the conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme, while N300 billion had been disbursed to farmers.

Speaking virtually at the opening ceremony of the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of Chartered In­stitute of Bankers of Nigeria, the president said the Nation­al Social Register of poor and vulnerable Nigerians had 32.6 million persons from 7 million poor and vulnerable house­holds identified, imploring bankers to play a stronger role in improving livelihoods.

“From this number, 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households, comprising more than 8 million individuals are currently benefiting from the conditional cash transfer programme, which pays a bi-monthly stipend of N10, 000 per household,” he said.

President Buhari said the National Social Investment Programme was biggest in sub-Sahara Africa and one of the largest in the world.

He said, “Some of the vari­ous initiatives embarked upon to boost agric trade in Nigeria include the Anchor Borrowers Programme through which the Central Bank of Nigeria had made more than N300 bil­lion available to over 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 dif­ferent commodities including rice, wheat, maize, cotton, cas­sava, poultry, soybeans, ground­nut, fish, cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland.

“It is on record that 80 per­cent of rice consumed in Nige­ria is now produced locally.”

To further strengthen re­covery and empower more Nigerians, President Buhari said last year he approved the establishment of InfraCo Plc, a world-class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on Nigeria, with com­bined debt and equity take-off capital of N15 trillion, managed by an independent infrastruc­ture fund manager.

“The Solar Power Naija proj­ect was launched in April 2021 with the aim of delivering 5 mil­lion off-grid solar connections to Nigerian households. In May 2021, the Rural Electrification Agency announced the planned deployment of solar-powered grids to 200 Primary Health Centres and 104 Unity Schools nationwide.

“Under the Family Homes Fund Limited, Social Housing programme incorporated by the Federal Government of Nigeria, more than two thou­sand hectares of land with title documents have been issued by 24 states with the capacity to accommodate about 65,000 new homes. The Central Bank of Nigeria is providing a N200 billion financing facility, with a guarantee by the Federal Gov­ernment,’’ he said.

The president affirmed that the theme of the conference, ‘Economic Recovery, Inclusion, and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance’, was most appropriate, following the global shocks from COVID-19.

“I salute the Institute and the entire banking and finance industry for the commitment towards charting a practical path for economic recovery and transformation of our country, Nigeria, and by extension Afri­ca as epitomised by the theme of your conference.

“I commend the financial services industry for its inter­ventions and contributions towards the promotion of fi­nancial inclusion and literacy in our country. And more im­portantly, the roles played by the banks in fostering economic growth of the country.

“I am confident that the speakers that have been careful­ly selected to contribute to the conference will share insights that will help individuals, busi­nesses and governments at all levels make necessary adjust­ments and take the right steps towards our collective resolve to position Nigeria as one of the top economies in the world,” he added.

The president said a report from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that Nige­ria’s Gross Domestic Product grew 5.01 percent in the second quarter of 2021, the strongest rise since the fourth quarter of 2014.

“This is cheery news and an indication that the efforts of this administration at repo­sitioning the economy is paying off,” he said, urging bankers and financial institutions to leverage on the abundant busi­ness opportunities to grow the economy.

In a goodwill message, Pres­ident Paul Kagame of Republic of Rwanda said exploring new technology in the banking sec­tor, with more focus on inno­vation, will enhance financial inclusion.

“The banking sector can lead the way in integration. Banking is about trust,” he said.

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