Every program has its model and modus operandi.
The CCT program unlike the N-power program for instance uses a world bank model which does not want it in the hands of politicians. (Please Google conditional Cash transfer worldwide).
What has happened in our (Nigeria’s) case is that the program goes directly to the communities to enrol people and the template or plan was not for any state or region to get more or more by far. Ultimately it depends on how many people are willing to get registered in a state and actually get registered.
In our own case (SE), my objective findings when I investigated was that while some states in the North were registering more people, states especially in the South East had a couple of challenges which affected their numbers. And those were largely not the fault of the Program.
Apart from some state governments failing to meet up with their own counterpart requirements on time like setting up a state coordinating office, our people were reluctant to get enrolled. Often times our people think its anathema to say or agree that they are poor and need support and we know that.
In many cases, they were doubting the reality of the program and were suspicious of getting enrolled because their picture would need to be taken and pictures of their houses also taken to be uploaded to the World Bank portal. These in addition to other parameters would be used in the assessment of whether they truly qualify as ‘poorest of the poor’ and vulnerable.
This is a major reason why the SE registered less beneficiaries. Some states in the North also registered less beneficiaries for various reasons.
Remember this is not a wholly Federal government program or money.
The World bank administers the money which is mainly from returned Abacha loot and domiciled with the CBN.
Again the Federal government doesn’t pay the monies directly. Payment Service Providers (PSPs) which are mobile money operators licensed by the CBN do the payments.
The federal government provides the list of beneficiaries, based on the list already submitted by the states. The PSPs are provided the money based on the number of beneficiaries given for each state where each PSP covers.
They pay those that physically show up, their pictures are taken and uploaded to the World bank portal and the monies for those who did not show up are returned to the CBN.
It is the National Social Safety-net Coordinating Office (NASSCO) that does the state by state compilation of names into the National Social Register (NSR) of poor and vulnerable households in Nigeria.
After the compilation of the names of these households into the National Social Register (NSR), the National Cash Transfer Office goes into the NSR to mine the poorest of the poor and most vulnerable to be enrolled into CCT for the benefit. It is a well structured system. The NASSCO has officers in the states including Imo state.
Very Important To Note: It is members of the community themselves that determine who participates or gets enrolled as a beneficiary. They define what is poverty in their context and peculiarities and determine who is ultimately enlisted amongst them because poverty would mean different things to different people.
I personally made a case for Ehime Mbano, Ihitte Uboma and Obowo LGAs when I realized that it is Okigwe, Onuimo and Isiala Mbano LGAs that were captured. I was told that thus far the program has only covered 30% of its madate, the next enrollment will cover 50% and then 20% later.
Yesterday however I was informed that the President has instructed that the register be expanded. NASSCO will soon start another enrolment and that is an opportunity for the 3 LGAs to be included as well other LGAs in Imo state.
Our task now is to follow up, guide and assist the officials where we can and also importantly educate our people to stop the suspicion and get enrolled when they come. We cannot be suspicious of everything and every person.
It might interest us to know that the Imo State Coordinator of the Household Uplifting Programme – CCT is a noble son of Ehime Mbano. I only found out during my investigations.
Indeed all the officials involved with the program in Imo state are Imo indigenes drawn from the State and Local governments and they are paid for each cycle of payments.
The PSPs themselves are very keen on having more people on the register because their commission is based on how many people they pay.
Please let us not stop only at complaining at times but objectively keep our eyes and ears to the ground. A lot of things are happening.
I hope this explanation helps.
Dr Uche Diala