The Nigerian women over the years have contributed significantly to Nigeria’s economy, providing support in form of business and entrepreneurial advancement. Therefore, in both public and private sectors, leaders must support women and positioned them in such a way that they should become strong enough to defend and assist themselves, their families and their constituency, according to Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Speaking at the flag-off of the Grant for Rural Women Project and Symbolic Disbursement held in Kaduna State, Ahmed, represented by her Special Adviser, Hajia Hauwa Yahaya, advocated that women should be assisted to become co-creators of empowerment interventions in the country.
According to her: “It is not only by placing women in position of political leadership that women can be empowered, but by providing support and tools in such a way that they also become employers of labour themselves.”
She praised the Kaduna State government for the coordination of the event and implored the beneficiaries to make good use of the money that they collected out of the cash grant of N20,000 disbursed to about 125,000 poor women across 36 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At the event, the cash grant was disclosed by Hajiya Sadiya Faruk Umar, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Bashir Alkali.
Hajiya Umar noted that since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2015, the federal government has paid more attention to addressing the plight of the poor and vulnerable in the country despite the economic slump and revenue challenges.
This, according to her, informed the decision by Mr. President to initiate the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) as a strategy for reducing poverty and enhancing social inclusion.
Umar stated that the Social Investment Programme has impacted positively on the lives of the poor and vulnerable Nigerians as over 12 million households have benefited from the intervention in the last five years.
“Since its introduction in 2016, NSIP has impacted positively on the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria as over 12 million households have benefitted from the interventions in the last 5 years. This includes payment of a monthly Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) of N5,000 to a million indigent Nigerians, to protect them against economic shocks and elevate them out of poverty,” she said.
“Also, 1,092,405 micro and small business owners have in the process accessed loans to boost productivity, increase income and reduce poverty under the Government Enterprise Enhancement Programme (GEEP). The N-Power programme has provided temporary income-generating opportunities for 500,000 unemployed youths while 8,612,457 primary 1-3 pupils in public schools currently are receiving a meal per day, under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, she stated.”
Speaking further, she said that President Buhari approved the expansion of the programme to touch more lives and lift more Nigerians above the poverty breadline, promising to disburse the grant to over 4,000 beneficiaries across the 23 Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.
She, however, maintained that, with the complimentary effort of Kaduna State government, the target beneficiaries would be adequately covered within the next few days.
Hajiya Umar gave an assurance that federal government would remain on track of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
In a remark, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, said that the decision of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to provide the grant to rural women was timely, considering the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Dr. Balarabe said that the enrollment of additional 46,326 households is presently ongoing across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state initiated by the state government.
Hajiya Hafsat Baba, Kaduna State Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, also speaking at the event, had revealed that the state has recently produced social protection policy and implementation plan to support vulnerable people in the state.
Some of the beneficiaries have expressed appreciation to the federal government for the gesture, and pledged to use it judiciously to boost their businesses.