Mrs. Sadiya Umar Farouq

No economic palliatives for consumers having account balance above N5,000, says FG

* Tinubu advocates use of BVNs for palliative cash transfers

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect
The Federal Government has said that cash palliatives to mitigate the effects of the current lockdown induced by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are not for Nigerians that have above N5,000 in their bank accounts.

Mrs. Sadiya Umar Farouq, Honourable Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, stated this in a chat with State House correspondents, in Abuja, FCT.

Reeling out the modalities for the disbursement of the cash palliatives, Mrs. Farouq disclosed that her ministry intended to focus on the urban poor.

According to her, this approach is in consonance with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on the distribution of the palliatives.

The Minister stated: “You are aware that the President in his broadcast of Monday, 13th April, 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.

“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 more on as well as people living with disabilities.”

The ministry is at present considering three ways to select the beneficiaries of the schemes, she said.

Farouq said: “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.

“Those are also 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.”

According to her, only 25 per cent of the population will benefit for now, even though the scope may be expanded later.

She further clarified this, stating: “Let me also say that we have a standard. 25 percent of the total population is what we will take out.

“It cannot go round but we are starting from somewhere.

“Around 25 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.”

Meanwhile, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has urged the Federal Government to make cash payments to households through Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians.

Asiwaju Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, in a statement, gave the advice in Lagos, Wednesday, April 15.

According to him, the use of BVN would also be safer and not lead to violence and crime that might follow physical cash transfers.

This would encourage those without bank accounts to establish such accounts, he stated.
Tinubu added that the approach would further bring millions of people into formal banking in the country.

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