Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Monday, insisted that the conditional cash transfer initiative of the Federal Government is fraught with faults.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouk, had said that the ministry had commenced cash transfer to the poorest households in the country to cushion the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
But speaking in an interview with Fresh FM 105.9, Governor Makinde, who recovered from COVID-19 in less than a week, said he is not impressed with how the poor are identified.
He said: “About, I think two days ago, in our meeting, the task force meeting, the Head of Service, Mrs. Ololade Agboola, informed me that the conditional cash transfer from the federal government is going to give N20,000 to people in ten local government areas of Oyo state. I said ‘okay, fine. I mean it’s good that you are informing me.’ But this is a programme that predates this administration and I have never been impressed for one day by how they’ve identified the poorest of the poor and the impact.
“So, I see this as an opportunity for us to ensure that we get to the people that require those palliatives. Secondly, once we can get this right, it will become the pillar upon which we can build for future efforts. And once we have been able to do it right once, we won’t have to go back to the foundation again.
“The data is already being collated by our people in the field. They started yesterday. And, I can promise the people of Oyo statethat it’s not going to be business as usual, where we show a pile of foodstuffs in some warehouse somewhere and in the end, this won’t get to the people who need it. That will not happen in Oyo state.
“Well, I am not policing it. All I am saying is I am not satisfied. I have done a little bit of work on it in terms of gathering intelligence, finding out if this money is getting to the people that require it, and part of my findings are that no, close to 80 per cent of that money is wasted and 20 per cent that gets to some form of individuals is too little and too meagre to have the desired impact. That is my finding.
“Well, it is a Federal Government initiative. We will keep engaging them and more than likely, change the coordinator.”
On the preparedness of the state government to tackle the disease should there be a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in the state, Makinde said efforts are in place to see to it that 10,000 people in the state are tested.
“As a state, we have to take our fate in our hands, you know.
“So, it’s also the reason why we pushed for a testing centre in Ibadan so we can test more people who may have come in contact with COVID-19 cases. And my aspiration, which I already discussed with the task force team, and the EOC, Emergency Operations Centre, is that we must set a target to test close to 10,000 people in Oyo State.”