April 22, 2024

FG to restart direct cash disbursement 15m households

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FG to restart direct cash disbursement 15m households

Ini Billie, Uyo

The Federal Government has said it would restart the direct disbursement of cash to 15 million households in its drive to tackle poverty.

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun assured Nigerians that the government is committed to reducing inflation and lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty.

Speaking on Wednesday in Uyo during the 2024 Ministerial Retreat with the theme: “Achieving the 8 Presidential Priorities: The Role of the Ministry”, Edun said the government would increase the direct cash disbursement from three to 12 million households, using technology to ensure a seamless process. 

Edun stated that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed the release of over 100,000 metric tonnes of grains to cushion the effect of the high cost of food items to protect the poor and most vulnerable.

He mentioned that the Ministry of Finance is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria to bring down the exchange rate and stabilise the economy.

“Since May 29, the country has been set on a course of microeconomic stability. The unsustainable, wasteful expenditures that benefitted just a few people at the cost of the majority have been done away.

“So now the finances of the nation have been restored. The President has taken away from the few to give to the many. He has stopped expenditure on the few in favour of expenditure on the many.

“Mr President’s commitment is that cost should be borne by the most people and the poorest of the poor, the weak would be protected; that is why even at this time of highly elevated food prices, he has stepped in to intervene.

“He has opened the grain stores, he has released 42,000 metric tonnes of grains and made them available with another 60,000, and this is to intervene to put food, to put grains into the markets in an attempt to drive down the cost of things and make food available. That is the key priority in terms of the fiscal size, in terms of the governing size.

“We know the Central Bank with whom we are working hand in hand, is doing all it can to stabilise the rates, and even bring down the foreign exchange rate as part of stabilising the microeconomic picture generally.

“It is a tactic change because there is a need to restore the value of the naira, a need to restore the confidence in holding the naira as a stock of value and all the instruments available are being brought to the fore and used. And surely, it is a battle the Central Bank would win, it is a battle the government would win.

“In the meantime, everything is being done to ease the pain of Nigerians. We have prepared to go to Mr President with an interim recommendation to restart the direct payment to the poorest and most vulnerable. The commitment was to make sure we use technology to make a seamless payment between the registered and direct beneficiary without any manual processes in between. Immediately, it is done, that direct payment would resume.

“There are about three million beneficiaries now but given the way the rate has gone, probably another 12 million households can benefit from that payment. Evidence has shown that when you pay someone directly, it reduces poverty. There is a commitment to immediately start that process.

“We commit to help bring down inflation and the monetary side, ways and means have been identified. We agree that the historical legacy that was inherited has to be dealt with, and those are the revenue initiatives that we are focused on to remove that inflationary burden on the economy,” he stated.

While speaking, Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State, said the theme of the retreat shows the readiness of the Ministry to play its role in actualizing the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Eno who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Senator Akon Eyakenyi said besides the President, Nigerians look up to the participants at the retreat to fix the economy.

He called for the formulation of policies that will lead Nigerians back to agriculture, Information and Communication Technology and the utilization of its abundant solid mineral resources for the diversification of the economy.

“Beyond the President, Nigerians look up to you to fix the economy, tame the spiralling inflation, restore the strength of the naira and stabilize the exchange rate, pull more citizens out of multidimensional poverty, recreate a vibrant middle class, make the nation less import-dependent, among others. Your responsibility is enormous and critical.

“Akwa Ibom State will continue to play its role in national development because for the nation to be great, all citizens, units, segments, sections, sectors, institutions and governments must be alive to their responsibilities and consciously perform optimally. Nation-building is a collective responsibility.

“In furtherance of this objective of holistic national development, this administration in Akwa Ibom State will continue its strategic investments in the aviation, maritime, tourism, education, healthcare, agriculture, rural development and other sectors through the ARISE Agenda,” he stated.

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