The Federal Government is training 162 Imo civil servants on data collection of the poor and venerable to tackle poverty at community level.
The training is under the National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO).
Mr Peter Papka, the National Coordinator of NASSCO, said this on Wednesday in Owerri at the opening ceremony of a four- day workshop organized by NASSCO for local government civil servants in partnership with the Imo State Government.
The theme of the training workshop is “Training on Community Based Targeting for Identification of the Poor and Vulnerable.”
Papka said that past government interventions in the name of NAPEP, Sure-P, SURF and other poverty eradication programmes had not yielded much fruit, hence the need for a more pronounced transparent and accountable programme that was community based.
He said NASSCO was currently building a National Social Registry (NSR) of the poor and vulnerable households (PVHHs) in targeted communities of the state and in Nigeria as a whole.
“It is also supporting states to setup State Operations Coordinating Units (SOCU) for State Social Register (SSR) as well as establishing a platform for a coordinated implementation of pro poor interventions (by reducing double-dipping and duplications of efforts.”
Papka congratulated Imo Government for keying into the programme, having fulfilled the necessary requirements.
He said the first training, which involved 18 participants each from nine local government areas of the state, was to equip them with the modalities to formulate data of the poor and vulnerable in the communities with a view to eradicating poverty among them.
He said more of such trainings would also follow to accommodate other local government areas.
The NASSCO boss urged participants not play truancy, but pay proper attention to the training and ensure they applied all that they leant in their various communities to achieve a desired goal.
Mr Callistus Ekenze, the Imo Head of Service, who represented the governor and declared the programme open, said that NASSCO programme was in line with the numerous poverty eradication programmes of the state government.
He outlined some of the Imo Government’s poverty alleviation programmes to include the free education, empowerment of 305 youths of the 305 wards of the state with N305 million at N1 million each.
It also included the empowerment of 305 women from 305 wards in the state with N100,000 each to set up businesses.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also quotes the head of service as saying that the wife of the governor, Mrs Nkechi Okorocha, had built over 300 two bed-room bungalows for indigent women in the state.
“We feel fulfilled that this country is moving forward and in the right direction. The governor of the state is passionate about alleviating poverty among the people.
“We have made 305 youths millionaires and empowered 305 women. What the Federal Government is doing is complimentary to what the state has been doing,” he said.
Mr Anthony Amadi, Imo State Planning and Economic Development Commission, commended the Federal Government for the training programme, which he said, was geared towards delivering the dividend of social programmes to the poor and vulnerable.
He expressed the belief that the programme would be successful in the state, adding that the state governor was passionate about the welfare and well being of the vulnerable.
In a paper on the theme, Mr Daniel Amba, Targeting Officer of NASSCO, observed that inequality in Nigeria had increased.
According to him, despite the strong economic performance in the country more than 58 million Nigerians are considered poor, while 20 per cent of the population own 65 per cent of the national wealth.
He also said that the stable economic growth in recent years had not translated into diversification of the sources of labour income for poor families.
Amba said out that there was an obvious need to ensure resources are spread more evenly across the country noting that social protection was one of the ways of bridging the inequality gap.
He said NASSCO was set up to support implementation of some of the provisions in the social policy framework of the Federal Government.
He said the office was also coordinating thematic programmes (starting with World Bank) to build synergy for optimal delivery.
Amba said that the National Social Safety Net Programme (NASSP), an off shoot of NASSCO, was set up to establish the building blocks of a national social safety net system for effective targeting and delivering of interventions and livelihoods support to the extreme poor and vulnerable households.
NAN reports that some of the participants expressed optimism at the success of the programme and promised to contribute their best.