The Federal Government has inaugurated the rural women grant project in Plateau with 500 beneficiaries from across the 17 local government areas in the state.
Speaking at the inauguration at the Government House, Jos, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Mrs. Sadiya Farouk, said the gesture was to alleviate the hardships rural women faced during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Farouk said the inauguration was also part of the celebrations for the International Rural Women Day, celebrated annually on Oct. 15.
She said the project was introduced to sustain the social inclusion agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and the realisation of the national aspiration of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“It is designed to provide a one-off grant to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural Nigeria.
“A grant of N20,000.00 will be disbursed to over 150,000 poor rural women across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
” Let me also state that the grant is expected to increase access to financial capital required for economic activities.
“It is our hope that the beneficiaries of this programme will make good use of the opportunity to increase their income, enhance their food security and generally contribute toward improving their living standard,” she said.
The minister expressed optimism that with the complementary efforts of Gov. Lalong and other stakeholders, the target beneficiaries would be on their way out of poverty to prosperity and also help in realising the target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
Farouk said since the inception of Buhari’s Administration in 2015, the Government had been committed to protecting and promoting the plight of the poor and the vulnerable in the country.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that earlier at a courtesy visit to Lalong, the minister said assorted grains from the National Food Reserve would be distributed as palliatives to vulnerable persons affected by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Plateau.
She said 73 trailer load of grains would be distributed to 294,199 households comprising 34 trailers of maize,35 trailers of Sorghum and four trailers of millet.
Gov. Lalong thanked the Federal Government for the assistance, saying the gesture would alleviate the hardships faced by vulnerable persons caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters such as floods and conflicts.
He lauded the disbursement of cash transfer to 500 rural women to mark the International Day of Rural Women with the theme “Rural women and girls building resilience”.
“I am also delighted to know that 3,005 pregnant and lactating mothers in Plateau State are receiving additional N5,000, as Top-Up of the Conditional Cash Transfer.
“This is in line with our passion for improving the lives of our women and children in Plateau State, particularly their health and economic empowerment,” he said.
He said his administration was committed to empowering women and youths in collaboration with agencies and other development partners, saying agriculture was a viable sector, major to create jobs and economic opportunities.
“Honourable Minister, while we appreciate that 26,000 poor and vulnerable households in Plateau State are already receiving the cash transfer of N10,000 bi-monthly, I wish to bring to your attention that some 47,000 others are awaiting payment.
The governor assured the minister of the state government’s commitment to collaborate with her ministry toward improving the well being of the people of the state.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, urged the 500 beneficiaries to put the grant into good use, saying they were the first set in the country out of the 150, 000 to benefit from the scheme.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Magdalene Wakwa, a widow, thanked the Federal Government for the gesture, saying she would put the grant into good use while praying for other less privileged persons to enjoy such Intervention.