By George Odok
Calabar – The Cross River Government has commenced the disbursement of N240million COVID-19 Intervention relief fund also known as Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).
The money which was released by the Federal Government was to give succour to poor and vulnerable households across the 18 local government Apareas of the state.
The disbursement of the fund was sequel to the pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of the release of the Conditional Cash Transfer of N20, 000 per household.
Dr Inyang Asibong, the state Commissioner for International Development Cooperation, spoke during commencement of the disbursement at Odukpani Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday.
The commissioner said that the adoption of the World Bank certified Single Social Register by the state government was used to ensure an even distribution of relief materials and the fund.
Asibong said that her ministry was the coordinating ministry for the disbursement.
She also announced thatv the Special Top-up Intervention Programme for pregnant women, lactating mothers and mothers with children under-5 will receive 200 per cent of the N20, 000 which amounts to N40, 000 respectively.
She said that the essence of the money was to improve the livelihood and general well-being of the vulnerable and very poor in the society.
“The timing of this intervention fund is of importance to the receivers due to the total lockdown order.
“The essence of the CCT is for the beneficiaries numbering about 11,995 to receive N240 million.
“Today, the 596 beneficiary households from the 30 communities that make up the13 wards in Odukpani had received their own tranche of the payment, as the same is being done simultaneously across the other 17 local government areas of the state,” Asibong said.
The commissioner for Humanity and Social Welfare, Mrs Blessing Egbara, said the 11,995 beneficiary households across the state were documented using the World Bank Social Register domiciled in the Ministry of International Development Cooperation.
On his part, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Asuquo Ekpenyong, who doubled as Secretary of the Cross River COVID -19 Taskforce Team, explained that the disbursement was done, following due diligence.
He said that it was also done in line with the laid down procedure, using identification cards by the beneficiary.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Cross River Government is also distributing food and non-food items to the beneficiaries of CCT to further cushion the effect of the COVID-19 Intervention measures.
A cross section of the beneficiaries who spoke with NAN, commended both the Federal and state governments for coming to their aid during this critical period of COVID-19.
They explained that the funds and relief materials would be used to buy drugs to improve their health, pay school fees of children and buy other essential house items.