Zamfara alleges irregularities in cash transfer programme, urges FG to investigate

Zamfara government has sought the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve alleged irregularities in the Federal Government’s Conditional Cash Transfer programme in the state.

Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development sharing the Federal Government's Conditional Cash Transfer to beneficiaries. [Twitter/@BashirAhmaad]

Hajiya Fa’ika Ahmad, Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development made the appeal at a news conference in Gusau.

This news conference became necessary as there had been some misinformation with regards to the postponed third cycle of the Cash Transfer Programme in the state.

“For this reason, the ministry finds it imperative to share the information at its disposal with the people of Zamfara and all relevant stakeholders.

“We are also making an appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“We express our appreciation to enrolled cash transfer beneficiaries in Zamfara for their continued support, patience and acknowledgement of government’s efforts to ensure the successful completion of the payment exercise,’’ Ahmad said.

According to her, prior to the start of the third cycle of the exercise, Zamfara government received series of complaints from some beneficiaries of the cash transfer programme.

“These complaints ranged from non-payment and underpayment and premature ending of payment by the service provider.

In fact, sometimes the exercise lasts between one hour and two hours in addition to other irregularities.

“In order to deal with the issues, the state government constituted a committee to take proactive measures to ensure that irregularities with previous disbursements are minimised.

“The committee was set up also to ensure complete transparency and accountability with the processes for paying beneficiaries in the third cycle.

“Shortly before the commencement of the payments which were scheduled to kick-off nationwide from Aug. 26, the state faced a rising spate of banditry and insecurity,’’ she said.

Ahmad explained that in line with government’s objectives of ensuring the protection of lives and property of citizens, the committee consulted with security agencies and with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

It also consulted with the state’s Focal Person on the Social Intervention Programme; with the State Cash Transfer Unit team and with the Payment Service Providers.

Equally, the committee consulted with the State Operation Coordinating Unit, the National Orientation Agency and the Media.

“After the consultation a collective decision was taken to start payment on Wednesday, Sept.1 in Kaura Namoda being the local government area with the highest number of beneficiaries in the state.

“From a security perspective, it was only possible to work in one local government area in a day.

“The state government did everything within its powers to ensure a successful cash transfer programme; unfortunately the exercise met with hitches.

“It appears there was an attempt to tarnish the credibility of the committee to ensure transparency and accountability and minimise problems that occurred during previous disbursements.

“We appeal to President Buhari and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouk-Umar to investigate all allegations with regard to previous payments.

“We equally appeal to the World Bank, the National Coordinator, Conditional Cash Transfer, Hajiya Halima Shehu, and the National Coordinator, Social Investment Programme, Dr. Umar Bindir, to also investigate,’’ the Commissioner said.

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