How cash transfer recipients amass wealth in Kwara through savings and cooperative practices

NNN: How cash transfer recipients accumulate wealth in Kwara through savings and cooperative practices

How cash transfer recipients accumulate wealth in Kwara through savings and cooperative practices

A group of National Cash Transfer (NCT) recipients in Shao, Moro Local Government Area in Kwara.

One such case is the cassava processing plant set up by Obalowu. With the extra funds, this widow now goes to the farm and to the market to buy cassava to process. This, she claimed, increased her means of earning a living and invariably improved the family’s livelihood.
National Cash Transfer (NCT) beneficiary Mrs. Khadijat Saheed in Tafa Tafa village, Asa local government area in Kwara, with a grinder, one of the assets she purchased under the scheme.

“It’s in addition to my farming business. Through all of this, I earn money to support my children’s education and meet other family needs.

“This is the third time I will get a loan, and if the program continues, I hope to further develop the businesses,” she enthused.

Saheed’s neighbour, Iyabo Isiaka, 50, also got the money from the company, which she used to stock the store she had built two years before the opportunity of the program smiled on her.

“We thank God for this opportunity. I built a store two years before the program, but I couldn’t store it.

“But after we signed up for the cash transfer and started the cooperatives, I was offered the first loan; this gesture helped my plan. It is this opportunity that explains my success today.

Besides individual businesses, NCT beneficiaries in the village have a collective farm on a four-acre plot.

Malam Abubakar Abdulsalam, who manages the farm, said produce was shared among members. The last sharing, he said, was before the recent Ramadan fast.
A widow, Mrs. Funmilayo Olaoye, a seamstress, who branched out into bag making following her enrollment in the National Cash Transfer Program (NCT).

“I was a specialist in sewing clothing fabrics. But when I started getting the money, I added bag making to it. I buy leather to make travel bags, women’s handbags and satchels.

“I thank God for that. I become more popular with it. Those who know me as a tailor now patronize me for bags. Many people contact me for schoolbags. This is one of the fortunes that the program has brought to my life personally.

“Not everyone sews fabric for me, but since I’m the only one making bags here, it really helps me.

“As I have no intention of remarrying or sleeping with men, I am able to easily pay the children’s school fees. It was a bit difficult in the past; same thing with food,” she testified.

The Eleyin Group also operates a joint rental service with the chairs and a canopy they bought with their savings. The group has acquired land where it plans to build a service shop.
Dr Aminah Yahaya, Head of Cash Unit, Kwara.

The World Bank reported in 2018 that at least 1.7 billion adults worldwide were still unbanked, including around 400 million in Africa.

Of this African figure, 38.1 million of them are Nigerians.

Unbanked people lack access to basic financial services, including loans, the ability to securely send and receive funds, and a safe way to save money, access credit facilities to start and/or expand businesses.

The NCT official said, “The beneficiaries we started with in 2016 never knew what we call cooperatives, but we were able to form them into cooperative society and savings groups.

“Nowadays they know what the savings are and they can tell you they have N2000, N3000 and even when someone comes they can also give.

“Before that time, recipients could never brag about getting a loan, but now they can. Most of the success in the program today is the result of the loans they get, not the externally, but within the cooperatives they have formed and within their business groups.


Despite the successes, beneficiaries say they are constrained by the recent inconsistency in the payment of benefits, which has led to the depletion of their savings.

“For the past few months, we have no longer been able to meet our bimonthly payment obligation to our beneficiaries. It’s a very big challenge and it hasn’t been easy on our part as performers.

“But as you know, as a government, we also have to expect bottlenecks here and there. It’s not like the federal government keeps the money somewhere and gets it back whenever it needs it.

“We pray that the situation improves,” said the head of state.

Speaking further on the challenge, the programme’s livelihood officer, Dr Adeyemi, noted that the erratic payment was affecting savings as some of the beneficiaries had started sharing theirs.

Other major challenges, according to program officials, are the lack of support from state councils and local governments for logistics, forcing officials to rely on only small government allocations at the center.

Editing by Kevin Suleiman Tola

This story was made possible by Nigeria Health Watch with support from the Solutions Journalism Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting on responses to social issues.


Virginia S. Braud