Social service: FG to introduce cash for education, healthcare schemes

By The Citizen

The Federal Government will soon introduce a social safety net that will enable the poor to enjoy cash transfers to meet their basic socio-economic needs.

Government also restated its commitment to sustaining the macroeconomic stability achieved so far in the economy by adopting appropriate fiscal and monetary and other measures.

The measures include diversification of the country's revenue base and improving the level of prudence in the management of available resources at the disposal of government.

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, disclosed these initiatives yesterday during her 2014 press briefing on the state of the economy.

According to her, the proposed Social Safety Net will be specifically targeted at the rural poor and serve as a financial support to them in terms of providing education for their children and enabling them to access primary health care, among other basic necessities.

The minister said the scheme had been experimented in Kano to see if people could use it to send girls to school, adding that the results showed remarkable leap in girls' enrolment in schools.

Okonjo-Iweala said that government would expand the scope and extend cash access to poor families to enable them to move up from the poverty trap to get their children educated and get their health index right.

She said: 'We have asked an Inter-Ministerial Committee, which is headed by the Ministry of Finance, to work on this issue. So, as we speak, we are looking at a Social Safety Net, which is designed to bring people at the bottom in poverty up. What do we do?

'We are looking at various mechanisms. The biggest social safety net is jobs. So, we are focusing on sectors that are not creating jobs fast enough. What other programmes can we put in place in addition to the SURE-P to create jobs for more people because Nigerians don't like handouts, they want to work, they want to support themselves. That is the number one thing we are looking at. 'Second is, safety net for those vulnerable groups. This is what is being done in Brazil, in Bolivia, in Indonesia and other developing countries, all those countries that I say they are doing well. This is scheme we are using.' - National Mirror.