COVID-19 : FG’s CCT beneficiaries in Ekiti seek more sustainable programmes from govt

Beneficiaries of the federal government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) in Ekiti state have called on the government to ensure more sustainable programmes are introduced to ameliorate the suffering of residents following the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

They lamented the impact of COVID-19 on their and businesses and livelihood urging the federal government to upgrade and sustain the CCT programme, where beneficiaries receive N5,000 monthly for people to able to survive the damage caused by Covid-19 in the economy.

They spoke at a two-day Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on the impact of Covid-19 on CCT beneficiaries in Ekiti state organised by the New Initiative for Social Development (NISD) and supported by Africa Network for Economic and Environment Justice (ANEEJ). The participants were drawn from Ado-Ekiti and Ikere local government areas being the largest council areas in the state.

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Florence Fatoki, noted that the lockdown declared by the government to stop the spread of Covid-19 had adverse effects on her business, regretting the irregular payment by the federal government.

On her part, Awe Temitayo said that government must put out workable policies that would cater for the less privileged and the vulnerable as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying,” we are the most affected by this pandemic.”

According to Juliana Abiodun, the deadly virus death a huge blow on her Yam selling business especially during the lockdown where people were not allowed to move around, saying the stock in the warehouse were destroyed.

Speaking, the program head of NISD, Ogunlade Olamide Martins said the event was put together to determine the impact of the coronavirus on the people at the grassroots especially women, girls and the physically challenged among CCT beneficiaries.

He noted that the group was poised to improve the communication between the beneficiaries of the programme and the relevant government agencies on how the fund would be adequately and judiciously disbursed for the target residents.

He said, ” Knowing that the impacts of COVID-19 will be felt more by the vulnerable in society, particularly women, girls and Persons with Disabilities, New Initiative for Social Development (NISD) supported by Africa Network for Economic and Environment Justice (ANEEJ) deemed it fit to conduct a two-day fact-finding focus group discussion to itemise findings on the impact of COVID -19 on beneficiaries of the Cash Transfer Programme in partnership with the State Cash Transfer Office (SCTO), this is a build-up from series of spot checks to ascertain if funds disbursed get to the intended beneficiaries and report amount received by the beneficiaries and total amount disbursed for the period as well as carry out advocacy visits and monitoring to states where payment has not commenced.

“The FGD will improve commitments by the head of SCTU to ensure all grievances received are resolved and also improve communication system among the National, State and payment Service providers to ensure that funds are disbursed to all CCT beneficiaries in each payment cycle during the COVID-period.”

The program head explained that CCT beneficiaries were the worst heat by the pandemic, saying they have solicited more sustainable programmes from the government both federal and the state level to help in improving their standard of living affected by the pandemic.

He added that the federal government has been called upon to extend the scope of the CCT programme for more residents of the state to be captured in the programme.

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