To many people, N5, 000 is an insignificant amount as they spend more than that on a daily basis. However, many poor and vulnerable households require such an amount to open or sustain businesses. The federal government, through the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has been distributing N5, 000 conditional cash transfer (CCT) to the poor and vulnerable households as part of its mandate to lift 100 million Nigerians from poverty within 10 years. PAUL OKAH takes a look at the scenario.
To many families, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD) remains a blessing and the greatest achievement of the federal government as a result of its many people-centred programmes.
In 2016, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government, in partnership with the World Bank, designed and developed a social safety-nets programme for Nigeria, under the platform of the National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP).
The framework of the NASSP is to provide safety nets system building blocks that will allow the government to target and deliver a range of programs to poor and vulnerable households, which is being implemented under the supervision of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, upon its creation in 2019, with Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq as pioneer minister.
NASSP supports the Government’s agenda by expanding access for poor and vulnerable households to targeted cash transfers to provide them with a basic social safety-net, including the establishment of a National Social Register (NSR) and implementing cash transfers to targeted poor and vulnerable households mined from the NSR, under the Household Uplifting Programme-Conditional Cash Transfer (HUP-CCT), through the National Cash Transfer Office (NCTO).
The NSR is a database of poor and vulnerable households (PVHHs) in Nigeria built using globally acceptable targeting methods. It is also a collection of state social registers built by states through their ministries of planning and hosted by the National Social Safety-Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO), a component of NASSP.
The social register provides an opportunity for poor and vulnerable households to be considered and registered for potential inclusion in social investment programmes to support skills acquisition and sustainable livelihood.
The Conditional Cash Transfer provides targeted monthly base cash transfer of N5, 000 to eligible poor and vulnerable households (PVHHs) mined from the NSR to improve household consumption and develop savings skills. The overall objective is aimed at reducing poverty, preventing the vulnerable households from falling further down the poverty line and building their resilience to withstand shocks.
With series of development over the years, the programme has now fully migrated beneficiaries’ payment from offline to online real time payment using NUBAN account opened by Central Bank of Nigeria licensed Payment Service Provider (PSP).
Data obtained from the ministry on October 18 reveals that the programme, to date, has enrolled almost 2 million (1,940,324) beneficiaries’ households with over 9 million household members in the National Beneficiary Register (NBR), who have been reached with the bi-monthly cash transfer of NGN10, 000 across 47,297 communities, 6,267, wards, 607 local government areas, 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. 94% of beneficiaries are female caregivers. 10% of the household members are people living with disability.
The capacities of beneficiaries have been built to enable them engage in income generating activities for sustainable livelihood through consistent coaching and mentoring.
The programme has helped beneficiary households to start new businesses, send their children to school who were hitherto out of school, pay medical bill at community dispensaries, develop a savings culture and register cooperative societies. As of October, 2022, the programme has 13,559 registered cooperative societies by beneficiaries and 35,544 savings groups with over N600, 000,000.00 collective savings.
What businesses can one do with N5, 000?
In Nigeria, with poverty ravaging many homes, those who have the means have been venturing into businesses, why many have been begging family members and friends for little amount of money to eke out a living.
Investigations by Blueprint Weekend revealed that, with less than N5, 000, hard-working individuals have been starting up petty businesses to cater for their families, especially women in rural areas.
Speaking with this reporter in Dutse Bmuko, a suburb community in Bwari Area Council, a petty trader, Mrs. Hadiza Yakubu, who spoke through an interpreter, said there are plenty businesses people can start up, even in the FCT, if they can put aside shame or concern for what people will say.
She said: “Gone are the days when people sit and wait for someone to dash them money. The economy is very hard now and people hardly have enough to spare. Many people are going into businesses because they have to make ends meet as many workers are either owed salaries or paid very little just to make them continue struggling.
“As you can see, I sell pap, kunu, zobo and water. It is a business that requires less capital, but the gains are much. N5, 000 is even too much to start up the business. The major problem is that people are lazy. They always think first about what people will say, instead of setting up the business. If people can do away with shame, there is no limit to the amount of money they will make selling items to ever increasing buyers, even from the comfort of their homes or in front of their houses.
“On the other hand, there are people with business ideas, but lacking even N5, 000 to start up the businesses. It is not everybody that comes from a rich home, so those who are fortunate enough should help when anyone comes with genuine business ideas that requires little capital because I prefer people doing business, no matter how little, than begging.”
Similarly, Mrs. Regina Okorie, who stays in Jahi, a satellite town in the FCT, said many women are breadwinners in different families and have no reason to depend on men, especially with children to cater for.
She said: “In the Nigeria of today, it is difficult to see a woman not doing one business or the other. Even civil servants or those working for people have side businesses that help them to keep body and soul together. The economy is becoming harsher by the day that depending solely on what a man brings home every day is out of the question.
“The reason many people remain in poverty is because of their looking for millions of naira before they can start up businesses. Look at me; I am selling akara, puff, puff, egg role, meat pie and other edibles. I also have soft drinks. I don’t use up to N5, 000 to get the items I need to prepare them. Less than N5, 000 can lift someone from poverty if the person is serious. It is all about knowing the type of business you want to do, then the location and customers. Many people who are rich today started from somewhere. It is not compulsory that you must stick to a particular business. Nothing stops you from starting small and then venturing into other businesses as soon as you save up enough money.”
Beneficiaries thumb up initiative
On October 11, during an interaction with newsmen in Soba, Soba local government area of Kaduna state, some beneficiaries of the CCT described the support as a “life-changer,” saying the initiative “is improving the quality of lives of the poor and vulnerable” and has stabilised their means of livelihood.
A beneficiary and 45-year-old mother of five, Mrs. Amina Lawal, said she was a living testimony of how the programme has transformed the lives of women and their households, revealing the programme has provided her with a stable means of income as she now owned N280,000 worth of business.
“The cash transfer has enabled me to expand my fuel wood business to food items like palm oil, salt, and other seasoning. I have also ventured into selling textile materials which is bringing in more profit. This is a life changer for me and my household,” she said.
Also, a widow and mother of 13 children, Mrs. Aba Abdullahi, said the cash transfer programme supported her to establish a food item business with which she provides for her children.
“I’m now into selling food seasonings, spices, and others from which we feed and pay for our basic needs. In fact, my business is doing so well that I even took two of my little children to a private school,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Mrs. Zainab Mohammed, 50-year-old widow and mother of seven, described the CCT programme as “a candle of hope,” after losing her job and her husband, followed by her mother who supported her when she had lost hope in life.
“I was forcefully retired from the Local Government service about three years ago, losing my only source of income. I was trying to put myself together when my husband, the only breadwinner of the family, became paralysed and later died. I moved in with my mother who also died of an ailment. I felt like the whole world was coming to an end for me, until I was enrolled as one of the beneficiaries of the cash transfer programme. This was the saving grace for me and life has never been the same again,” she said.
She said she used the amount to establish a business of making and selling air freshener and other locally made insecticide which she said was really flourishing with good returns.
Credit: Source link