The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched an Unconditional Cash Transfer project targeting the poor and vulnerable in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with specific focus on women and youth.
The project seeks to alleviate the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 on beneficiaries and strengthen the resilience of communities in council areas across the FCT. It will cost N264,499,200 million equivalent to US $694,679.43.
According to a statement by UNDP on Monday, “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of nearly every individual around the world including millions of Nigerians. The crisis and the resultant shutdowns and restrictions on movement have exerted a heavy toll on the health and livelihoods of communities, impacting the functioning of businesses and government. As a result, Nigeria is grappling with high levels of unemployment, with affecting livelihoods, poverty and well-being.
“15,253 individual households in key hotspot areas across the FCT will benefit from the UNDP cash transfers, while 2,972 MSMEs and start-ups will receive funding for business continuity to help benefit their communities. For individual households, 50% of the cash transfers will be allotted to women and 80% of MSMEs and informal business funds will be dedicated to youth.
“The adverse implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria’s vulnerable population in a complex development setting calls for concerted action to simultaneously mitigate the health and socio-economic implications. Unemployment is rising, especially in the informal sector with many expected to lose their jobs temporarily.”
FCT Minister of State, Ramatu Aliyu, said the intervention would go a long way to minimise the effects of job losses and improve the livelihood of communities.
“The COVID-19 global health emergency and its economic and social impacts have disrupted nearly all aspects of life for groups in Nigeria, especially vulnerable youth and women, and poses considerable risks in the area of education, employment, mental health and disposable income” she explained. “I am confident that through targeted intervention such as this, Nigerians will come out stronger and the country will realise areas to strengthen capacity building in human resource.”
Unemployment amongst young people between the ages of 15-34 years has risen to 55 per cent, with disruptions from the pandemic on businesses and livelihoods likely to continue to increase instability.
“The primary and secondary effects of the pandemic could reverse decades of human development gains and jeopardize the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) unless immediate action is taken.”
UNDP Resident Representative for Nigeria, Mohamed Yahya, said “Support, specifically to youth and women, in the area of employment and business continuity will have long-term beneficial effects. With a vibrantly young cohort, who are tech- savvy and entrepreneurial, the opportunities to harness youth for sustainable development are unlimited. This unconditional cash transfer aims to help achieve these short- and long-term objectives.
“UNDP is drawing on lessons learned and an ever-changing context to ensure that COVID-19 support is dynamic and flexible. In Nigeria, with support from key partners under the One UN COVID-19 response, UNDP is pivoting to address the increasingly severe social and economic impacts of the pandemic and support the rights-based social contracts needed for lasting change.”
“On April 6 2020, the UN, in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria, launched the One UN COVID-19 Response Basket Fund. The Basket Fund serves as the One COVID-19 Financing and Investment Platform, through which different stakeholders (including UN, other multilateral and bilateral donors, as well as private sector donors, foundations and philanthropists) can channel their financial support to the multi-sectoral efforts of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Response.
“As of July 2020, the One UN COVID-19 Response Basket Fund, managed by UNDP, had mobilized US$63.8 million, including US$54.6 million from the European Union (EU); US$2.2 million from UN agencies; $US4 million from the private sector (Dangote US$ 3.8 million and AP Maersk US$ 0.2 million); US$0.4 million from the Government of Switzerland; US$ 1 million from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; US$ 400,000 MacArthur Foundation; US$ 1,050,000 from Government of Norway.
“As of June 2020, the Project Board had allocated US$ 42,767,450.16 for response interventions to be undertaken by Participating UN Organizations (PUNOs) covering the following areas: Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE); Strengthening State level Operational Capacity in Surveillance, Infection Prevention, and Control; Building Capacity of Healthcare Workers in Case Management and strengthening hospital capacities to respond; and, engagement with Civil Society Organizations to reverse the negative impact of COVID-19 on equal access to essential health services.
“Through the Basket Fund, UNDP has procured over $ 13.0 million (with a significant contribution from the EU) worth of health equipment including PPE as emergency support to contain the spread of the coronavirus.”
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