FG Awaits National Assembly’s Nod Before Take-Off of $800m Cash-Transfer to About 50m Poor Nigerians
About 50 million poor and vulnerable households in Nigeria are eagerly waiting for the take-off of the National Social Safety Net Programme Scale Up which is aimed at alleviating their poverty through monetary provisions by the Federal Government.
Data from the National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office revealed that there were about 12.06 million poor and vulnerable households in the country, totalling 49.81 million persons.
Investors King reports that the social safety-nets are part of broader social protection systems comprising non-contributory transfers in cash or in kind, designed to provide support for the poor and vulnerable people in the country.
Through this scheme, which has already been captured by the Federal Government in its 2023 Budget, thousands of poor households would be supported with cash, while others in need of material provisions would also be included.
The Federal Government has said that in order to reach out to targeted persons, especially in the rural communities across the country, it will deploy Point-of-Sales agents for cash transfers during the programme billed to commence this year.
Already, the National Social Safety-Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO) which is collaborating with the World Bank has been working on building a National Social Register (NSR) that would contain poor and vulnerable Nigerians who are direct beneficiaries of the $800million earmarked for the project.
The programme, which is to be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has the approval of World Bank and it would run till June 30, 2024.
Announcing that POS agents would be co-opted to transfer the money to the needy, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, said the Federal Government was waiting for the approval of the National Assembly before the programme would commence.
Ahmed, who made this known while hosting the Executive Director, Angola, Nigeria, South Africa Constituency of the World Bank Group, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, in Abuja last week Friday, said the social safety net would be expanded.
According to her, the NASSP-Scale Up has been approved by the bank and the Federal Executive Council, while the financial implications have been catered for in the 2023 Appropriation Act presented recently to the NASS by President Muhammadu Buhari.
To activate the project, the minister said the National Assembly must approve it, adding that there are efforts to expand the rapid response register to capture those who had slid into poverty of recent.
Also, she disclosed that the government is working with agents network in the banking system and other financial services for the cash transfer programme.
The minister said all of the database required have been worked upon for easy disbursement of the money by banks.
With the engagement of PoS agents, Ahmed pointed out that hard-to-reach communities and villages without banks would be covered in the programme.
Speaking, the Executive Director, Angola, Nigeria, South Africa Constituency of the World Bank Group, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, canvassed the urgent need for government to tackle food insecurity and poor power supply in the country.
Dlodlo said about 600 million people in the African continent lack access to electricity, which she described as vital element to national development.
Lagos Govt Signs MoU With eTransact For Setbacks, Open Spaces Management to Boost IGR
In a bid to better manage the open spaces and setbacks in Lagos, the state government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a fintech firm, eTransact.
The Memorandum, Investors King reports will regulate the use of the setbacks and Incidental Open Spaces (IOS) to improve the state’s internally generated revenue while enhancing beauty and physical orderliness in Lagos State.
The pact was signed by the State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development at the State Secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, to ensure smooth partnership between Lagos State Planning and Environmental Monitoring Authority (LASPEMA) and the fintech company.
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Engr. Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins, who was represented by Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on e-GIS and Planning Matters, Dr. Olajide Babatunde and Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Oluwole Sotire signed for the state government while the Managing Director of eTransact, Mr. Niyi Toluwalope and Group Head, Legal of eTransact, Ms. Eme Godwin signed for the company.
In a statement, the eTransact promised to implement an integrated digitalised solution for the data collection and management of revenue collection through the use of technology, adding that businesses occupying setbacks and open spaces will be well monitored to further increase IGR of the state.
According to Babatunde, the official public-private partnership would ensure proper management of the environment.
He noted that there will be better accountability and growth in IGR to further serve the interest of the people of Lagos.
In his remarks, Toluwalope said that the partnership will improve social development, develop solutions on data collection and proper use of setbacks and open spaces through digital means.
He reiterated the company’s commitment to build an attray and prosperous city for all in partnership with the state government.
He said: “eTranzact is a premier technology solutions company in Nigeria. Today we are partnering with the Lagos State Government and LASPEMA for the enumeration and data management of the occupants of the setbacks and incidental open spaces within the City. We are licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide this service.
“The Lagos State Government has taken this laudable initiative to identify the setbacks, enumerate the people on these setbacks, do the necessary data capture, and manage the entire setback infrastructure in the state so that it is structured; following the proper model for setbacks, improves beautification, improves transparency within the environment and ensures that our critical urban infrastructure is well laid out properly to ensure Lagos functions as a major critical landmark with global recognition.”
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Petitions NBC to Sanction Channels TV Over Alleged Breach of Broadcasting Code
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the President-elect, has reportedly filed a petition with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), calling for the sanction of Channels Television for allegedly breaching the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.
The petition alleges that the TV station allowed its guest, Labour Party Vice Presidential candidate Datti Baba-Ahmed to make several incendiary comments that impugned the integrity of the 25 February 2023 Presidential elections.
According to Tinubu’s petition, Baba-Ahmed claimed that the Labour Party won the election, which is “a fallacy and not correct,” and he alleged that President Buhari should not swear in the President-elect because he did not score 25% of the vote in the FCT, which is a prerequisite for being declared the winner.
Tinubu also accused Baba-Ahmed of making subversive, inciting, and inflammatory comments, which breached the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.
The petition calls on NBC to apply sanctions against Channels TV, stating that the TV station’s guest was “not only provocative but also inciting the public and the Labour Party followers to delegitimize the outcome of the elections but also propagate resistance against the incoming duly elected administration of Bola Ahmed-Tinubu and Kashim Shettima.”
This development comes amid tensions and uncertainties surrounding the aftermath of the 2023 Nigerian Presidential elections with some political parties and their supporters contesting the results and calling for a rerun. The Nigerian Broadcasting Code aims to regulate the activities of broadcasters and ensure that they promote national unity, peace, and social harmony, among other objectives.
NBC is yet to respond to Tinubu’s petition or issue any statement on the matter. However, this petition highlights the need for broadcasters and media houses to uphold journalistic ethics and professional standards, especially during sensitive periods like elections.
Court of Appeal Upholds Adeleke’s Victory in Osun State Governorship Election
In a landmark judgement, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke as the rightful governor of Osun State.
The ruling, which comes as a surprise to many, overturned the decision of the Osun State Governorship Tribunal which had earlier nullified Adeleke’s election victory.
Following the governorship polls in the state, an Election Petition Tribunal had sacked Adeleke from office, citing his failure to secure the majority of lawful votes during the July 16 governorship polls. However, in a unanimous agreement by a three-man panel led by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu, the Court of Appeal quashed the tribunal’s judgment and gave its verdict to uphold Adeleke’s victory.
The Appeal Court Panel revoked the tribunal’s order which directed that a Certificate of Return be withdrawn from Adeleke and issued to his predecessor and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gboyega Oyetola. The panel held that the Osun State Tribunal was wrong to have said that there was overvoting, a claim that only relied on the evidence by Oyetola and the APC, and as such, doesn’t prove their case in any way.
The judge faulted Oyetola and APC, that they only relied on the data from the back end server and failed to look at the voters register which forms the foundation of the whole electoral process and as such, cannot strengthen their allegations of overvoting. The court also resolved in favour of Adeleke on the issue of jurisdiction, stating that section 285(8) of the constitution as amended, the court has every right to entertain the appeal.
The ruling is a significant victory for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Adeleke, who had been locked in a legal battle with the APC over the governorship position since the election. Many Nigerians have applauded the Court of Appeal’s decision as a step towards consolidating the country’s democracy and upholding the rule of law.
The decision has also set a precedent for future electoral disputes in the country, as it highlights the importance of credible evidence in proving electoral malpractice claims. This ruling has shown that allegations of overvoting cannot be sustained without concrete evidence from the voters register, and political parties must be thorough in their investigations and presentation of evidence in such cases.
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