Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
Office of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme in the Bayelsa State says financial mismanagement is responsible for the delay in the payment of beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme in Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Abia and Zamfara states before and during the period of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Head of Unit of the programme in Bayelsa, Mrs. Tonbara Kenigbolo, stated this yesterday during a town hall meeting between staff of the SIP and beneficiaries organised by Bayelsa Non-Governmental Organization Forum (BANGOF) in partnership with Africa Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) in Yengaoa.
Kenigbolo said a payment provider, identified simply as Henry, procured by the Federal Government in July 2019 to effect payment to beneficiaries of the scheme in the four states visited Bayelsa just once to discuss modalities for payment.
She, however, said the payment provider never returned to pay the monies meant for the poor and the vulnerable persons in the society.
Kenigbolo said: “Payment for the first tranche was due since July 2019. Henry came to Bayelsa and we discussed the modalities for payment, only for him to return to Abuja and vanished into thin air without any feedback. All communication channels with him were blocked. I called and called him several times to no avail.
“It was at that point we in the Bayelsa office wrote a petition against him to our national office. When our petition got to Abuja, we learnt that Zamfara, Akwa Ibom and Abia had also petitioned the contractor for the same reason. Thank God today his contract has been cancelled and a new payment provider known as Softcom has been procured.
“As we speak, the account of the new payment provider has been credited and very soon payment would commence. When payment commences, each household shortlisted for the programme will get at least N50, 000 during the payment of the first tranche.”
She further revealed that the beneficiaries captured from 96 communities in Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor and Nembe Local Government areas in the state would undergo 10-week training in money management and investment to help them start a business that would lift them out of poverty.
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