Part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign manifesto included a conditional cash transfer of N5,000 to be given to one million of the country’s poorest individuals. While that claim has been met with widespread criticism, the Buhari administration has plans to make good on that promise with the inclusion of the Social Investment plan in the yet to be signed 2016 Budget.

According to a press statement released by the president’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the programme “is designed to recognize the need for ordinary, poor Nigerians to also benefit from the resources of the country”, because it is the belief of the president that “the resources of our country should be spent also on the vast majority of our people who are poor and vulnerable, and not squandered by government officials or the elite.”

The statement further explains that the programme will be executed in collaboration with the World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation to ensure that the cash is received by the poorest and most vulnerable individuals in the country.

It explained that the World Bank has already begun compiling a “Social Register on poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria, by going to the 4 poorest local government areas and then the 4 poorest communities in those poorest local govt[sic] areas”. Adding that “about 7-8 states have been completed already”, while the Bill Gates Foundation and the World Bank will be in charge of identifying the recipients and deciding how the money will be paid to them.

It also stated that, “This is the first time that the federal government of this country will be spending this much on social welfare for poor, bearing in mind that the money will go directly to the beneficiaries.” Other Social Investment programmes include the provision of soft loans to a million traders as well as employment of 500,000 unemployed graduates as volunteer teachers while they search for jobs in their various areas of expertise.

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Author: Aderonke Adeleke

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