By Rita Iliya
Minna, – The Federal government’s Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP 2.0) has begun the disbursement of soft loan to 3,166 vulnerable and low-icome groups that are engaged in some commercial activities in Niger.
Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, announced this during the inauguration of the National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP) in Minna on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that among the programmes inaugurated were the Federal government grant to vulnerable groups, GEEP 2.0 Roll-Out, digitalised payment for Conditional Cash Transfer, Height and Weight Measurement Kits, launching of nationwide sensitisation of home-grown school feeding and inspection of farm to kitchen center.
Farouq said that no fewer than 1,142,783 potential beneficiaries were registered across 774 local government of the country in the first phase of GEEP.
According to her, 41,513 beneficiariries were registered in Niger state with 9,637 verified and 3,166 enumerated beneficiaries were selected to benefit.
She added that GEEP was captured in three signature schemes such as TraderMoni and MarketMoni loan of N50,000 and FarmerMoni of N300,000 meant to uplift underprivileged and marginalised youths and marginalised women in the society as well provide agricultural inputs worth to rural farmers respectively.
The minister also inaugurated Grant for Vulnerable Groups programme (GVG) designed to provide a one-off grant of N20,000 to 5,428 poorest and most vulnerable people in rural and urban areas across the 25 local government areas of Niger.
She said that GVG was meant to empower beneficiaries to improve their productivity and their commercial activities, mainly aimed at easing them out of poverty, adding that the programme was targeted at lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
Farouq also noted that the Federal government had digitised payment of N5,000 Conditional Cash Transfer to improve the pace of payment to ensure transparency and accountability and enable the generation of reliable payment data and records.
The ministers said that 9.9 million children were currently being fed nationwide under the home-grown school feeding programme adding that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the extension of the programme to additional five million children.
Earlier in her welcome address, Hajiya Amina Gu’ar, the Focal Person, National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) in Niger, lauded Buhari for initiating the programmes that had touched the lives of the poor and the vulnerable in the society.
She also lauded the state Gov. Abubakar Sani-Bello for being passionate on the implementation of the programmes and the minister for working tirelessly to take the programmes to greater hight.
In his remarks, Sani-Bello, described the social protection programmes as “unprecedented which were aimed at lifting over 100 million Nigerians out of poverty”.
Bello, represented by Alhaji Ahmed Matane, the Secretary to the Niger Government, noted that the successful implementation of the programme by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration would give the party ticket to win the 2023 elections.
Some of the beneficiaries of GEEP, Hassan Sani and Aisha Mohammed, said that they would use the money to expand their businesses to improve the living standard of members of the families.(NAN)