To cushion the negative effect of the fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians, President Bola Tinubu, requested approval for an $800m World Bank loan from the National Assembly to provide an ₦8,000 monthly stipend to 12 million Nigerian households for six months.
The announcement triggered a wave of condemnations from economic experts and other concerned Nigerians who opined that the intervention was being misapplied.
Also, some critics questioned how the federal government intends to qualify those who will benefit from the proposed handout, given the lack of a credible social register.
Though the government has since pulled the plug on the plan for further review, the rancour it generated is still rambling on.
Reacting to the development during an interview on ARISE Television, Governor Sani toed the line of those who predicted the scheme would be counterproductive.
He argued that there was no certainty of an accurate and updated database of the Nigerian people that would benefit from the proposed largesse.
Sani said, “My position has always been that, at this critical time, cash transfer should not be something we should bring up. I think that cash transfer, for me, in my opinion, is a scam. Ultimately it’s a scam. I can be very sure about that, because who are you transferring the money to?
“Let me give an example, go and check the current statistics. As I said, as the Chairman of the Committee of Banking for four years in Nigeria, I oversight Central Bank, I oversight all the commercial sectors of our economy for the last four years, and I looked at the statistics, I will be steadfast on this issue, and you can go and check it.
“About 70 to 75 per cent of the rural population in North West are financially excluded completely. You will have to go and check; these people we are talking about are important in society. They do not even have a bank account, so who are you transferring the money to?”
The Governor added that the social register has not been updated, referring to a case study in the North West where it was discovered that about 70% of the rural population was not captured in 2019 due to insecurity.
He said this in defence of the position taken by the National Executive Council (NEC) that the social register lacked credibility.
“In my opinion, we said that the social register should be updated. As you know, some names were put together as far back as 2019. And, of course, nothing is constant.
“For example, some local governments in my state are not captured largely because of the insecurity in the state, and believe me, truly, the social register lacks credibility,” Sani said.
The Governor called on the government to ensure that the financially excluded individuals, especially in the North West, are captured and brought into the financial system before implementing the cash transfer programme.
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