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FG succumbs to pressure to include more PWDs in the National Social Register, hands over relief materials to governors

Going by intensive advocacy embarked upon by the Organisation of Persons with Disabilities(OPDs) demanding their inclusion in the social register because they are most hit by the pandemic, The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, Monday at the daily briefing by members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has accepted to expand the national social register when she said:“We are working on the rapid expansion of the register. It is not a day job, but we have started the process. Our main focus now will be on the urban-poor because these are people who have become vulnerable as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown.
“We will also be focusing on Persons With Disabilities (PWDs). Though we have some of them currently in our register, we will focus more on registering the people with special needs.”

Also at the briefing, she disclosed the Federal Government resolve to hand over relief materials intended for the vulnerable across the country to governors for ease and seamless distribution.

Following complaints and controversies surrounding the distribution of cash to the beneficiaries, she also said that plans are on the way to introduce electronic transfer system in the payment of beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer and others under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP). “We agree that the process looks very cumbersome and for the purpose of accountability and transparency, the ministry has begun the digitalisation of this process. We have four pilot states that are on digital payment so far and we are continuing with that.

On disbursement of cash to poor and vulnerable households, she said: “We give them N5,000 per month and now that Mr. President has directed that we give two months advance, this is why we are giving them N20,000.

On the distribution of relief materials to the vulnerable, she said: “Going forward, we have decided that we are going to be handing over food relief to the governors for onward distribution to the poor and vulnerable in their states. We have started already. I was in Lagos and Ogun states last week and I handed over trucks of relief items to the governors.

“So far, we have reached out to the three affected states that have been locked down by the Federal Government, including the FCT. We have also sent food relief to Imo and Ebonyi states.”

“We hope that in the next payment, we will be able to do half of the states of the federation.

“We are also using phones, mobile wallets and the BVNs of the beneficiaries where it exists because it is not all the beneficiaries that are on the banking system.” She said.



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