By Abuchi Onwumelu
Over 29, 000 poor and vulnerable households in Anambra State are to benefit from the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Cash Transfer Programme.
Addressing newsmen in Awka last Tuesday during a Stakeholder’s Sensitization on Rapid Response Register (RRR), the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners, Mr Mark Okoye, said the measure was to cushion the economic shock of the COVID-19 Pandemic across the state.
The Sensitization Programme was organized by the Anambra State Operations Coordinating Unit (SOCU) in collaboration with the National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO), under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
Mr Okoye who was represented by a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Dan Ezeanwu, disclosed that the Anambra State Government had been partnering the Federal Government in various social intervention programmes, noting that those programmes were aligned to the Federal Government’s agenda of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2025.
He announced that 9 local government areas had been selected to benefit from the RRR programme. The benefiting LGAs are as follows: Anambra West, Ayamelum, Awka North, Dunukofia, Ekwusigo, Onitsha South, Ogbaru, Oyi and Orumba North.
‘The RRR will be used to implement a cash transfer programme to a total of 29, 214 poor, vulnerable households from urban and semi-urban wards of Anambra State for an initial period of six months.
‘The selection is based on Scientific method of Satellite Remote Sensing Technology, Machine Learning, Algorithm and Big Data Analysis, which provided the basis for ranking the wards according to poverty index and availability of resources.
‘Furthermore, this is followed by digital identification using the unstructured supplementary service Data (USSD) link of TELCOMs facility by dialing a unique code to access the application portal: The identification exercise will be followed by enumeration and validation exercises,’ he said.
Okoye explained that enumerators would meet applicants at their residents to take further information such as National Identification Numbers (NIN) and bank account details, adding that those registered would subsequently be paid through a digitalized payment system in their bank accounts.
The Commissioner explained how one could be eligible for federal government’s cash transfer. ‘When you receive the SMS dial the code below to register; Ekwusigo -*969*21#, Anambra West, *969*22#, Onitsha South, *969*23#, Ogbaru, *969*24#, Oyi, *969*25#, Ayamelu, *969*26#, Awka North, *969*27#, Dunukofia, *969*28#, Orumba North, 969*29#.
Mr Okoye while reeling the codes said not everybody in a local government would receive the SMS, warning that enough safety measures had been put in place by government to avoid scam.
Those who were present at the sensitization briefing included, the State Coordinator, State Operations and Coordinating Unit (SOCU), Engr. Bede Okoli; a representative of Civil Society Network, Prince Chris Azor; and the Information, Education and Communications Officer of SOCU, Miss Ada Nwokedi, among others.