Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has inaugurated the Mobile Money Agent Programme and the commencement of training for 1,850 beneficiaries in the country.
In a keynote address at the inauguration and training of beneficiaries in the North Central Zone, on Thursday, in Abuja, Farouq said the programme was introduced to sustain the social inclusion agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration.
She explained that in view of the life-changing experiences of National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) beneficiaries, President Buhari had graciously approved the expansion of the programme to include the Mobile Money Agent.
According to her, this was aimed at touching more lives and lifting more Nigerians out of poverty which was in alignment with the President’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 350 beneficiaries from the North-Central geopolitical zone were gathered in the Federal Capital Territory for the five-day training programme.
“The programme is designed to provide toolkits to unemployed youths and develop their competences to operate as registered mobile money agents.
“The training we are starting today will enable target beneficiaries to meet the minimum technical and business requirements for becoming mobile money agents and enhance their entrepreneurial competences, to successfully start and manage mobile money businesses.
“Upon completion of the training, the target beneficiaries will be registered with the Shared Agency Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) as mobile money agents and be provided with start-up kits that include a Point-of-Sale (POS) Machine, Fingerprint Scanner and Furniture (chairs, tables and umbrellas) as well as a modest capital of N20,000.00.
“We hope that the programme will provide job opportunities to the 1,850 youths selected from the 36 States and the FCT, as well as promote financial inclusion, by providing financial services to unserved and underserved Nigerians.
“It will also enhance the integration of NSIP by enabling target beneficiaries to join the network of agents providing financial-related services under other components of NSIP, such as the conditional cash transfer and the grant for vulnerable groups, as well as in the enumeration/enrolment of target beneficiaries,” Farouq said.
She added that the training programme would also commence soon in Akure and Calabar, in addition to commencing next week in Kano, Bauchi and Nsukka, in Enugu state.
The Minister acknowledged the contribution of SANEF in ensuring the success of the event and commended its partnership with the ministry in the implementation of the mobile money agents’ programme.
“This will enable the registration and onboarding of target beneficiaries upon completion of the training. We also deeply appreciate the support of other stakeholders and their contributions”.
Farouq noted that the NSIP was one of the largest social protection programmes in Africa, “with over $1billion earmarked annually to cause positive change in the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable in the country”.
She explained that since its introduction in 2016, the programme had impacted positively on the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria, with “over 12 million households benefitting from NSIP interventions in the last five years.”
Also speaking, the FCT Focal Person on NSIP, Mrs Chinwendu Amba, appreciated the minister and President Buhari for choosing the FCT to inaugurate and commence the training programme.
The Chief Executive Officer of SANEF, Ronke Kuye, explained that the facility was set up in 2019 to deepen financial activities in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Kuye said the essence was to provide financial services at the lowest rate possible for people, especially the poor and vulnerable.
“Today we have about 900,000 across the 774 local governments across the country. This was made possible by partners like Central Bank of Nigeria, state governments and others.
“This programme would be a source of empowerment, income and livelihood. It would help enhance financial inclusion in the economy,” Kuye said.
Meanwhile, Mr Ali Phillips, on behalf of the beneficiaries, appreciated Farouq and President Buhari for the kind gesture, saying, “I know after this training, our lives would never remain the same again.
“We will use this opportunity to contribute our quota to the economic development of the country.,” Phillips said.