A policy group in Nigeria has made clarifications on how the Federal Government is using the $322 million General Sani Abacha loot recovered from the Swiss government.
The Global Economic Policy Initiative, GEPIn, explained that the loot was used in implementing the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, which is N5,000 to the poorest of the poor in Nigeria.
Speaking to journalists in Asaba, Delta state, GEPIn President, Bernard Okri explained that the project was supervised by the World Bank and monitored by Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria.
Mr. Okri said the process is very transparent and that families and people selected are picked through a transparent process.
“It is not true that the $322million recovered from Abacha loot is what the Federal Government is using for TraderMoni. The Swiss government only agreed that this loot be returned to Nigeria under the condition that it will be used for Household Uplifting Programme (HUP) known as Conditional Cash Transfer in Nigeria.
Mr. Okri explained that in December 2014, a Swiss court ruled that the Swiss government should repatriate the funds on condition that the World Bank would monitor its disbursement to the poorest Nigerians.
He said the World Bank looked at the programmes of the Federal Government and decided to implement the CCT with Abacha loot.
“The Nigerian authorities requested the loot should be used to support for the poor and vulnerable Nigerians under the National Social Safety Net Project financed by a credit extended by the International Development Association.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria, the Swiss Federal Council and the World Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) capturing the tripartite agreement on the World Bank’s monitoring role and the modalities of the funds repatriation and disbursement.
“The CCT aims at responding to deficiencies in capacity and lack of investment in human capital of poor and vulnerable households.
Explaining how beneficiaries are picked for the CCT, he said, “A community-based targeting team at the Local Government level move from one community to another to identify the poorest set of Nigerians through the help of members of those communities.
“All political wards in every state would have the same number of beneficiaries. The beneficiaries will receive N5,000 for three years; after which their conditions would be reviewed.
“To ensure transparency and accountability in the scheme, it is being implemented in a participatory manner where community members are involved along with the Local, State and Federal Government.
“There are monitoring organisations including the Civil Society Organisations and the World Bank. The monitoring movement has an electronic audit trail, trailing the money as it moves from the CBN to the beneficiaries,” he added.
He stressed that the funds for TraderMoni was budgeted in the N500 billion Social Investment Programme that was approved by the National Assembly and is being implemented by the Bank of Industry.