The Federal Government through the National Cash Transfer Office (NCTO), Abuja, in conjunction with Kogi State Cash Transfer (CCT) Unit, has commenced training for its beneficiaries on good savings culture under its Households Uplifting Programme (HUP).
Mrs Falilat Abdurasaq, the Head of Kogi State CCT Unit, told newsmen at the training centre on Thursday that the three-day workshop, tagged, ”Savings and Group Mobilisation (SGM)”, was for Cash Transfer Facilitators (CTFs) from 12 out of the 21 Local Governments Areas (LGAs) of Kogi State.
She said the SGM training started on Sept. 7 and would end on Sept. 11, noting that the remaining nine LGAs had benefitted from the training in the past.
She explained that the CCT programme has two components: ‘the Base’ which every identified and enrolled poor household were entitled to benefit, while the second component is ‘the Top-Up’.
She said that the FG that put up the CCT programme was really interested in ”the Base” aspect of the program.
”The government feels that the beneficiaries should not only collect this N5000 monthly and spend it on food, but to also save and invest part of it.
According to her, the SGM training is designed to build the capacity of the CTFs to go back and step-down the training to CCT beneficiaries at the grassroots.
”Most of the beneficiaries are uneducated and do not have the idea of saving or have poor saving culture.
”We want to train the beneficiaries on how to develop the culture of savings in order to increase their productivity thereby improving their economic status in the community.
”The beneficiaries will be encouraged to form themselves into different groups such as savings, social and economic groups, among others”, she said
Abdulrazaq noted that the savings by beneficiaries should be voluntary and not compulsory as being portrayed in the public domain, saying, ”savings is voluntary and not mandatory, but we encourage beneficiaries to save.
”We rather persuade them using Adult Learning Principles (ALP) for them to know the importance and benefits of savings, so that they will be motivated to save.
”Nobody can coarse or force the beneficiaries to save; it is voluntary”.
She, therefore stressed that the CTFs were expected to go back to their communities and cascade the training to the beneficiaries using adult learning principle and moral persuasion rather than coarsing or forcing them to save.
”The beneficiaries receiving monthly payment of N5,000 each, upto date in Kogi is 34, 456. Our would be beneficiaries awaiting payment is 39,225.
”Presently, Kogi State has 73, 681 households enrolled in the National Beneficiaries Register (NBR) for the CCT programme”, she said.
She stressed that the households uplifting programme had had positive impact in the lives of the beneficiaries with improved well-being and standard of living, through their success stories.
She commended Kogi Government for being very supportive for the CCT programme, saying, ”all of us in charge of the programme are civil servants, we are enjoying our salaries, with adequate provision of working tools.
”We urge state government to sustain this programme even if the FG decided to stop it after the stipulated five years”. Abdurazaq said.
Mr Emmanuel Eban, the Master Trainer from National Cash Transfer Office (NCTO), Abuja, said the SGM training was meant to engender and foster a culture of savings among the CCT beneficiaries.
”We believe very strongly that it is not just enough to give people money but we must also build their capacity to save and invest.
‘So the idea of this training is to train the CTFs who in turn would step-down the training to the beneficiaries in their various communities”, Eban said.
According to him, the training will enhance the capacity of the beneficiaries to be better persons and the CTFs to be a better community mobilisers in the nearest future.
”We all know that Nigeria and even the whole world right now is constraint financially. At some point, this programme will end, hence the need to train all our beneficiaries to be able to stand on their own.
”If they are able to save now and use the savings to venture into livelihood activities, they will be able to make money aside the N5000 monthly stipend; It takes a lot commitment to save.
”So, if they save, they will be able to do any business of their choice and stand on their own and not feel the impact of the exit of this programme.
”It is a strategy for sustainability, to save, invest, and expand their businesses”, Eban said.
Some of the participants, Mr Sani John, a CTF from Ajaokuta, and Mrs Rikiyat Abdul from Olamaboro LGA, told NAN that the training had greatly empowered them to know how to save, and learn how to be patient while saving.
”The training has been so eventful, we have been prepared, and I hope we will go back to our various communities to deliver the goodwill message of savings to our beneficiaries,” John said.
Abdul urged the Federal Government to bring in more beneficiaries to participate in the CCT programme, saying, ”a huge number of people are still living in abject poverty”.
The 12 LGAs are: Lokoja, Adavi, Okene, Okehi, Yagba East, Ankpa, Olamaboro, Kogi, Idah, Ijumu and Ogorimangogo LGA.