Written by Godfrey AKON

Niger allocates N193 million to sustain cash transfer

The Niger State Government has allocated N193 million to sustain a Cash Transfer Programme, CTP, initiated by the United Nations International Children Fund, UNICEF, to boost girl-child enrolment in primary schools.

Niger State Coordinator of CTP, Mr. Idris Arzika, stated this at a UNICEF Interactive Media Dialogue in Sokoto where he disclosed that the government has also approved N50 million for payment to beneficiaries as first tranche.

Arzika, who spoke on the sustainability of the CTP in Niger, assured that the N50 million would soon be released for payment to beneficiaries, adding that government has contracted Zee Tech to generate data of all beneficiaries before payment commences.

He explained that the N193 million allocated will cover implementation of the sustainability plan of the CTP for a period of three years, 2017-2019, and would include operational cost and disbursements.

The Niger government’s sustainability drive followed an impactful implementation of the UNICEF cash Transfer programme in 2014 to 2016 with no fewer than 12,314 girls as beneficiaries.

According to Arzika, the programme covered 251 catchment communities in six Local Governments where a lot of out-of-school girls were identified and about N123,140,000 was disbursed to caregivers to fund the girls’ enrolment.

He said the UNICEF cash transfer programme has increased attendance and retention rate in primary schools in the state even as schools recorded smooth transition of children into secondary schools.

“Total enrolment in 72 GEP3-CTP targeted primary schools in the 6 focal LGAs increased by 28%, while female enrolment increased by 48.59% between 2013/2014 and 2014/2015.

“Similarly, the total enrolment in the 72 GEP3-CTP targeted primary schools increased by 17.26% while female enrolment increased by 31.92% between 2015/2016,” he said.

Arzika said the programme has also reduced girl-child street hawking in catchment communities and resulted in infrastructural development, renovation, construction of classrooms and supply of furniture, in some of the GEP3-CTP schools by NSUBEB.

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