The Federal Government, on Friday, began disbursement of monthly stipend of N5,000 to the poor and the vulnerable in Ogun, under its Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme.
The Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs in Ogun, Mr Femi Ogunbanwo, at the flag-off of the programme at Odeda Local Government Area, said that a total of 9,593 people would benefit from the gesture in Ogun.
He said that the beneficiaries were drawn from six local governments across the three senatorial districts of the state.
Ogunbanwo said that the Household Uplifting Programme (HUP) was introduced by the federal government in 2016 to fortify the social safety net.
“The programme, HUP-CCT, is being coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
“It is basically to help the poor graduate from poverty, prevent the poor and the vulnerable from sinking further into poverty and build resilience to withstand shock and risks,” he said.
The commissioner said that the pilot programme began in Ogun in October 2020 with enrolment and data capturing activities.
He added that identification cards were thereafter issued to the beneficiaries to serve as a means of authentication and eligibility for payment.
The commissioner expressed assurance that the gesture would improve household consumption and enhance the economy of the affected communities, among other benefits.
He commended Gov. Dapo Abiodun for ensuring that the people of the state benefited from the programme.
“Today’s flag-off of HUP-CCT would not have been possible in the state if the governor had not been magnanimous enough to embrace the programme.
“This programme had started in other states in 2016 but the previous administrations in the state did not take steps to ensure that our people benefited from it.
“Surely, the governor deserves appreciation for his commitment to the development of the state and the improvement of the living standard of the people,” he said.
Ogunbanwo, while encouraging the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the funds, also urged government officials as well as religious and community leaders in the state to support the programme in order to achieve the intended purpose.
In her remarks, Head, State Cash Transfer Unit, HUP-CCT, Mrs Olufunmilayo Soyoye-Baker, asked the beneficiaries to drop their phone numbers or account details, saying that subsequent disbursements will be digital.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mrs Sufiana Idowu, commended the state and the federal governments for the gesture.
Idowu, who is a farmer, said that the fund would go a long way in boosting her agriculture business and her living standard.
She, however, urged the federal government to ensure that the payment was consistent so as to lift the beneficiaries out of poverty.