The Cross River Government has started payment of Youth Employment and Social Support Operations (YESSO) allowance of N30,000 to about 10,000 beneficiaries in the state.
However, Dr Inyang Asibong, the state’s Commissioner for International Development Cooperation, flagged off the payment at Akamkpa Local Government Area on Wednesday.
YESSO is a World Bank-assisted programme where the vulnerable in the society are engaged in community services which include sanitation, erosion control, desilting of drains, among others and are paid a monthly allowance of N30,000 each.
Asibong said that government approved the payment to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
She told the News Agency of Nigeria that the YESSO programme was one of the social investment programmes of the Presidency, supported by Cross River Government and assisted by the World Bank.
The commissioner said that the payment was for youths who were working at the community level under the supervision of YESSO officials.
According to her, the payment had been scheduled to go round the 18 local government areas of the state to ensure that all the beneficiaries received their payments.
The YESSO programme which is targeted at engaging youths in meaningful activities is assisted by the World Bank and it is one of the social investment programmes of the Presidency.
“The YESSO programme employs youths with semi-skills who are on a monthly stipend of N30,000 each.
“We are here to supervise that this payment gets to the beneficiaries, especially at this point of COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging the entire world.
“We have to make sure that these people still have their source of livelihood and it is not cut off from them. In Cross River, we have about 10,000 of these beneficiaries in our register.
“President Muhammadu Buhari in his address on Monday mentioned that the social register had 2.6 million households across the nation and he wants it increased to 3.6 million,’’ she said.
Asibong said that Gov. Ben Ayade is currently working on the register with a view to accommodating more vulnerable people in the state to benefit from the programme.
Mr Francis Otu, Head of Operations of YESSO in Cross River, said the payment was for beneficiaries of the programme between 18 and 45 years of age.
“The Government of Cross River has approved that we pay the beneficiaries of the programme at this moment to help them get essential items they need to stay at home,’’ Out said.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr Kenneth Nkoyo, said that the payment was timely, saying that it would go a long to provide food for his family.
Another beneficiary, Mrs Ekanem Okon said that the allowance would help her to get drugs for her sick three-month old baby.
They both thanked the state government for remembering them at this time.