cash-flowPoverty is a state of material, cognitive and social deprivation of people’s needs in a community. Poverty indicators are; lack of basic needs of life, food, housing and shelter.

Poverty has different dimensions. Such dimensions are – absolute, relative and subjective poverty.

 Poverty is frowned at because of the prevailing belief system as in Medieval Era, under development of human capital, self concept [racism, gender bias, ethnicity, etc] and social deviance [crime and delinquent acts, drug adulteration, corruption, sabotage etc]  Poverty can be significantly reduced when the government reduces unnecessary bureaucratic bottle necks in dealing with the poorest segment of the society. Government does this by; identifying the very poor, creating conditions to be met by those to be assisted to overcome poverty and eligible families are paid stipulated amount of money over time as long as they conform to baseline standards.

Through educational advancement, access to improved Medicare provided by the Government, benefiting families can embrace demands of Sustainable development. Through CCT, human capital development will be ultimately achieved and because CCT has worked in many countries, it can work in Nigeria and even in all the States. Countries associated with CCT are; Latin American countries – Mexico, Brazil ,Chile, Columbia, Honduras, Jamaica, Indonesia, Guatemala, Cambodia, Peru and Nicaragua;  Africa – Morocco and Egypt, while in the far East, Philippines. Also in USA, it has been tried in New York City.

 

In Mexico,Cash transfer was made to very poor households numbering about 300 000 for a start in 1997. The recipients were expected to avail themselves of existing educational, health and nutritional services.Mothers in benefiting families were paid the approved sum.Age and gender of children influenced the amount of money received with female s receiving more especially at the secondary school level.

Benefiting families ensure their children enroll in schools, attend the same regularly, embrace ante and post natal care services and get their children vaccinated as the need arises.

Some states made it possible for benefitting women to attend regular health and nutritional workshops and ensure uninterrupted supplies of basic requirements for the programme to survive.

 

By the year 2000, about 5 million families are said to be benefitting from the programme.

Within the same period, secondary school enrollment for boys increased by 6% while that of girls shot up to 9%.The age of school enrollment decreased.

In BrazilCCT is called family allowance [Bolsa familia] .It is aimed at assisting very poor households.

The Criteria for inclusion are households whose children attend schools, and are vaccinated.

About 12 million Brazilian families got financial assistance ranging from 12USD to 76USD per child per month via the programmes.

Female members of households earning about 38 USD were given additional sum of 37USD called BASIC BENEFITS.

To reduce corruption and administrative constraints, financial releases were made through a bank [Caixa Economica].This has about 14000 locations in the country, where members get paid using their debit cards.

About 26% of the country`s population are said to have benefited from the programme as at February 2011

 

Sequel to Bolsa familia, number of children involved in child labour, became significantly reduced, street corner children and the vices they are known for became equally reduced.

The nutritional value of food intake by benefiting children increased, children learn faster in a better environment.  Also about a quarter of Brazilian families have benefited from the programme because children are fed during school hours, their family savings increased.

 

 In Brazil there were criticisms; political opponents of Silva saw it as a form of bribery; some argue that it can discourage many from looking for gainful employment. Still many see the programme as capable of creating inflation in the economy.

Male chauvinists see the programme as capable of affecting power relations in the benefitting homes.

 

 In USA, the Mayor of New York City impressed by the Brazilian experience, introduced CCT in the state in year 2007 called Opportunity NYC. It emphasized educational development, health and work component.

Female heads of recipient families, got cash payments ranging from 40-100 USD a month upon demonstrating responsible maternal care practices.

Educationally, families whose children register 95% school attendance get50USD a month. Family of a child that has passed high school receives 600USD a month. A family that has complied with health prescriptions of a child under 3 months gets 200USD. Families whose members work an average of 30 hrs a week for 2 months receive 300USD. Families whose members complete a professional course, recieve300-600USD.

The benefiting households were empowered and the Poverty index was reduced from30%-17%.

Many attained high school level of education, Health seeking behaviour of many improved, quest for professionalism also increased and many poverty infested homes became materially improved.

In Africa and Nigeriapoverty and culture of poverty areassociated with weak character of the states consequent on legacies of colonial rule, neo-colonialism, corruption, natural and man –made disasters, ethnicity, citizenship debate etc.

In 2010 the World Bank assisted about 160000 Moroccan families to benefit from CCT.

 

The CCT in programme started in Nigeria in 2007 under the auspices of NAPEP – it was called ‘‘In Care of People’’ (COPE) in 12 states. In 2009, the MDGs-OSSAP office keyed into the programme by supporting NAPEP. However under the 2012 programme and under the direct co-ordination of the MDGs-OSSAP office, Abuja, twenty four (24) states are now involved. With two thousand, two hundred and fifty (2,250) beneficiaries in each state, the programme will cater for a total of fifty four thousand (54,000) in 24 (twenty four) states. Each beneficiary receives N5000 per month and at the end of twelve months of the programme receives a business start-off grant of N100, 000.00.

                                       Culled from a presentation by Mr. Andy Obiajulu at a workshop in Awka, Anambra State

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