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FG’s N5,000 Cash Transfer Scheme Not Effective—World Bank

By Adedapo Adesanya

The World Bank has knocked the federal government’s N5,000 conditional cash transfer scheme, saying it had little impact on household consumption and financial inclusion.

In its latest report Beta Don Come: Effects of Cash Transfers on Women and Households in Nigeria, the global lender said the intervention, which was targeted at the most vulnerable citizens in the country, had a limited impact on employment, especially for women.

Recall that the federal government under former President Muhammadu Buhari launched the National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP) in 2016 and throughout the administration, it claimed it had provided households with a cash transfer of N5,000, disbursed as a lump sum every two months.

The report, verifying the claim, said payments were given to each household’s primary caregiver — predominantly women.

However, it suggested that there is a need for a complementary livelihood to support the intervention to generate sustainable improvements in households’ self-sufficiency.

“Program participation improved several dimensions of households’ and women’s welfare over time,” a part of the report read.

“Households in communities that entered the program earlier experience larger increases in household savings and food security, along with increased access to farmland and livestock ownership, compared to similar households in communities that entered the program later.

“We also find improvements in caregivers’ self-reported happiness, decision-making autonomy over how to spend their own income, and freedom of movement.

“Positive impacts appear to primarily result from the saving mobilisation component of the program,” it added.

“Households are substantially more likely to save the longer they have been receiving cash transfers and to switch away from exclusively using cash for household consumption.

“However, in contrast to these strong positive impacts, we do not find any statistically significant effects on overall household consumption or on caregivers’ employment and financial inclusion,” it further said.

The World Bank also said that despite the CCT programme’s efficacy, there is no evidence of “the impacts of participating in the program at all”.

“We find positive effects on households’ saving, food security, and economic activity along with increased caregivers’ decision-making autonomy and physical mobility associated with participating in the project for longer periods of time,” the report added.

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