The Special Adviser on Social Investments in the office of the vice president, Maryam Uwais, yesterday said the federal government would soon begin conditional cash transfers to poor families to ease hardship.
Speaking during a workshop on Child Poverty and Social Protection in West and Central Africa at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja yesterday, she noted that 30% of the poor in every state and local government would be catered for while the figure would be increased to about 50% next year.
“For the first time, government has budgeted money for the poor in the country. We have been given the mandate to develop a register for poor people. First and foremost, we are going into the communities organising socio group discussions and asking the communities themselves what poverty means to them,” she said. According to her, N5000 will be the bench mark for each family.
“There is poverty everywhere but if we say everybody is below the poverty line, poverty is higher in some places than others, so to avoid ghost beneficiaries we have asked them to have BVN so banks can pay directly to them,” she added.
The Commissioner, Social Affairs and Gender at the ECOWAS, Dr Fatimata Dia Sow, said despite intervention by government to improve the lives of children across Africa, most of them were still grappling with extreme poverty which had strongly retarded development.