President Bola Tinubu plans to engage banks to distribute cash to poor Nigerians. This move is seen to bypass the previous method of using a ‘poverty register’ favored by former President Muhammadu Buhari for selecting beneficiaries of a N5000 monthly stipend, with many recipients being untraceable.
In a bid to cushion the impact of the fuel subsidy removal on millions of Nigerians, Mr. Tinubu made a live broadcast on Monday evening, announcing the disbursement of cash transfer to the masses. Unlike the previous administration’s method, the responsibility of verifying the eligibility of recipients and overseeing the distribution would now lie with the banks.
“In this regard, the expertise of Development Finance Institutions, commercial banks and microfinance banks will be tapped into to develop a viable and an appropriate transaction structure for all stakeholders,” Mr Tinubu said in the Monday broadcast.
Despite their shared platform in the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Tinubu’s distinct approach to similar issues serves as a clear illustration of the divergent governance styles between him and Mr. Buhari.
Recall that the ex-minister of humanitarian affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq, stated back in 2020 that the government identified impoverished Nigerians as those who purchased N100 call airtime and possessed less than N5000 in their bank accounts, thus qualifying them for the stipend.
She claiemd that approximately 15 million lives were positively impacted, benefiting from various government initiatives such as TraderMoni, MarketMoni, Farmer Moni, and the N-Power scheme. However, despite these claims, the World Bank’s reports painted a contrasting picture, indicating that millions of Nigerians still endured severe destitution due to the poorly-planned poverty-alleviating strategies implemented under Mr. Buhari’s administration.
To avoid a repeat of the failure that trailed his predecessor’s approach, Mr. Tinubu is taking different route by assigning financial institutions the task of identifying who and who was not qualified to receive the cash, thus, jettisoning the so-called poverty register by Mr Buhari and former Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s regime.