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‘Don’t Allow Bureaucracy Undermine Purpose Of President’s Social Welfare Initiative’ — Sanwo-Olu Tells Humanitarian Affairs Minister

  • Governor receives Betta Edu, as FG verifies Lagos’ social register data

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has urged those entrusted with the responsibility to implement the social safety net programme of the Federal Government to undertake the assignment in way that must reflect the sincerity of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to protect vulnerable families and households from the impact of the current economic shocks shaking the country.

l-r: Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu receiving a plaque from Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu during a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Marina, on Saturday, 30 September 2023.

Sanwo-Olu said the social security programme was a well thought-out initiative of the President to engender inclusive governance by providing means of livelihood for people living below the poverty line. The Governor said bureaucracy must not come in the way of the intervention, stressing that target population must be identified and get the benefits of the intervention.

This was Sanwo-Olu’s remark when he received the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, and management team of the National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO) in a courtesy visit on Saturday at the State House, Marina.

l-r: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Lagos State, Mrs Oluyemi Kalesanwo; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu during the Minister’s courtesy visit to the Governor, at the Lagos House, Marina, on Saturday, 30 September 2023.

Edu’s visit to the Governor followed the verification exercise carried out by the ministry to validate Lagos data in the National Social Register.

The verification is part of the conditions to be fulfilled before the Federal Government commences its conditional cash transfer programme aimed at providing succour to Nigerians affected by humanitarian crises and multi-dimensional poverty.

Sanwo-Olu said the Ministry remained vital to the success of President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda, reiterating Lagos State Government’s readiness to work in synergy with the Federal Government’s steering committee to effectively implement the social safety net programme in the State.

The Governor pointed out that Lagos had generated verifiable data that would be useful in rolling out the intervention, noting that the State had captured almost three million residents living below poverty line in almost one million households.

He said: “Data is key to effectively implementing the President’s social safety net programme. We have generated a transparent list which both teams can look into. We have captured close to a million households, which gave us almost three million people. We can work out a plan to compare the data we have and create a unified data structure that will make the implementation of the intervention possible and impactful.

“The bottom line of this project is to show genuine concern for the needy in our society, identify their needs and support them. We should not let bureaucracy undermine the objectives and the benefits which the President wants to achieve with the initiative. Our people must feel the impact of the commitments we said we would do. We must not lose focus of the entire objective.”

Sanwo-Olu gave commitment that the State’s Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget would work with the Federal Government’s steering committee on data, while Ministries of Wealth Creation, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation would support the effort with actions in the area of reimbursement.

The Governor described the Minister as “energetic, focused”, noting that her appointment by President Tinubu to lead the humanitarian responsibility of the Federal Government was a round peg in a hole.

l-r: Director General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi; Federal Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Hon. Aliyu Tijani Ahmed; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu; Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and National Coordinator, National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO), Mr Abdulaziz Danladi during a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Marina, on Saturday, 30 September 2023.

“We can work out an implementation plan with the Federal Government’s steering committee to compare the data we have, strengthen it and create a unified data structure that will make the implementation of the intervention possible and impactful. We will ensure that everyone who needs to get the intervention is reached out to,” Sanwo-Olu told the Minister.

Edu said Lagos had been exceptional in creating sustainable model for the empowerment of vulnerable households. She said poverty alleviation remained a critical component of the President Tinubu’s eight-point agenda where he was expecting to see immediate action and improvement in the conditions of Nigerians.

She said: “We are going to work with the Lagos State Government to see that, we truly verify all the people on our data as beneficiaries of our conditional cash transfer that is supposed to go into the pockets of the Nigerians with condition to ensure that their children are in school, they are able to provide food and livelihood to their families.

“We will be releasing the funds to 15 million households within the country and this will be starting almost immediately the verification process is completed. That is why we have been on the field to verify the register, working with the State Governors and steering committees in the States.”

The Minister said the National Social Register contained the data of Nigerians living below $1.95 a day. She said the Federal Government was interested in reaching out to affected households to pull them out of poverty, while providing social safety net for them to thrive.

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