SWITZERLAND, APRIL 16 – The federal government says it will exclude Nigerians with more than N5,000 bank balance and those who spend more than N100 on recharge cards from palliatives.
On March 30, President Muhammadu Buhari announced a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the federal capital territory (FCT) for a period of 14 days. The president later extended the lockdown by another two weeks to further check the spread of COVID-19.
Buhari had announced that the federal government would provide palliatives to support Nigerians while they stay at home.
But addressing journalists in Abuja, Sadiya Umar Farouk, minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, said the ministry would use the social register to identify poor Nigerians in need of palliatives.
“You are aware that the president in his broadcast of Monday, April 13, directed that we expand the beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer by one million and in this regard, we are going to focus more now on the urban poor,” she said.
“These are people who depend on the informal sector to earn their livelihood; they are daily wage earners and these are the people that we are really going to focus on more as well as people living with disabilities.
“Well, we have three options. One, we are going to use the national social register that we already have. Two, we are also going to focus on the urban poor as I mentioned by using their verified BVN accounts to get them, that is, people that have an account balance of N5, 000 and below.
“We are also using the mobile networks, to know people that top up the credit units for their phones with maybe N100 or less. These are people that we consider to be poor and vulnerable. So, these are the three options that we are exploring and I am sure that by the time we get this data, we will be able to give this intervention.
“Let me also say that we have a standard. Twenty five percent of the total population is what we will take out. It cannot go round everywhere, but we are starting from somewhere. Twenty five percent of let’s say the location of Lagos State, for example, is what is going to benefit from this intervention that we are doing. Going forward, we might expand it but this is what is obtainable for now.”