By Racheal Ishaya
Abuja – The Federal Government said, it had succeeded in disbursing 40 million dollars out of the 400 million dollars World Bank social empowerment fund in five years.
The National Coordinator, Youth Employment and Social Support Operations (YESSO), Mrs Hajara Sani, made this known in a media interactive session on Friday in Abuja.
Sani said YESSO was introduced in 2013 by the World Bank in collaboration with Federal Government, to support Federal and State governments` efforts to improve the poor and vulnerable in the society.
The national coordinator explained that before the disbursement could begin, a social register of the poor and vulnerable had to be collected saying that the process took the office more than three years to accomplish.
She said that so far, the Agency had names of the poor and vulnerable in 15 states: Bauch, Cross River, Ekiti, Kosi, Kwara, Niger, Osun, Oyo, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Borno, Sokoto, Yobe and Oando states.
To this end, she said that YESSO had on social register, over 1.55 million individuals from 354,000 households.
Also, a unified register of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in six North-East states, containing over 1.53 million individuals from 195,118 households.
Sani urged the remaining 21 states yet to join the programme to do so, adding that the World Bank grant was open to all states in the country.
She said that to encourage more states to participate in the YESSO programme, the World Bank had cut the required counterpart funding by state governments from 50/50 to 90/10.
“This means that, for every one naira Federal or state government invest in youth empowerment programme, the World Bank will provide nine naira for it.
She announced that Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Kebbi and Abia government had indicated interest to be part of the programme in 2019.
Sani explained that YESSO aimed at reducing poverty and promote work opportunity through Public Workfare (PWF), Skills for job (S4J) and Targeted Grant Transfer programmes.
“The PWF involves cash transfers of N7, 500 monthly, based on public workfare programme for youths with low level of education; from poor and vulnerable households.
“The programme covers youths from 18 to 35 years, however in the North-East, people up to the 50 years benefit from the programme, due to the uniqueness of the region.
“We also have the S4J through which we transfer cash to youths with some level of education.
“We provide them with economically viable skills through entrepreneurship, life skills and sector specific skills training.”
Sani also said that in October 2018, YESSO introduced the Targeted Grant Transfer, which aimed at incentivising the IDPs in the North-East to leave the IDPs camps and resettle in safe communities.
She said that many IDP families had indicated interest to be resettled and that once the project commences in full, each family will be given a total of N200, 000 in four tranches to relocate.
Giving a breakdown of the payment, she said N30, 000 would be given as basic relocation fee, N20, 000 for relocation, N100, 000 for resettlement and finally, N50, 000 as stabilisation grants.
Sani stressed that all payments made to beneficiaries under the programme was done electronically to avoid duplicity.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 300 million dollars YESSO programme is one of the World Bank assisted programmes.
It was established in 2013 by the former administration and domiciled under the office of the Vice President.
The programme is aimed at reducing poverty by creating immediate employment opportunities through public workfare, skill for job for the teeming youth and conditional cash transfers.
Three years later in 2016, the Buhari administration restructured the programme to respond to the emerging situation in the North-East.
The restructured operation with additional 100 million dollars was approved, bringing the total to 400 million dollars with effect from February, 2017. (NAN)