Minister of Population Planning and Social Welfare Mary Clara Makungwa says she is impressed with social cash transfer electronic-payment services FDH Bank is providing in Ntcheu District.

The social cash transfer programme, also known as Mtukula Pakhomo, is a project reaching out to the ultra-poor and labour-constrained households, providing them with monthly financial support to improve their livelihoods.

Said Makungwa: “I commend the implementing partner FDH Bank because it was not possible for the ultra-poor in remote areas to own bank accounts.”

The minister also said government intends to roll out the programme nationwide.

FDH Financial Holdings spokesperson Lorraine Lusinje said the bank signed a four-year contract with government to provide e-payment services to 15 400 beneficiaries every month in 93 pay-points in Ntcheu.

“So far, we have registered and opened accounts for about 13 804 beneficiaries in the district,” she said.

Lusinje also said the bank plans to extend the service to the rest of the country.

Ntcheu District principal social welfare officer Gift Kambadya said Mtukula Pakhomo is achieving its objectives of improving livelihoods of the ultra-poor.

“Most beneficiaries are able to buy livestock and poultry which they keep so they can sell to earn more money,” he said.

One of the beneficiaries, Zigele Innocent from Ben Tchauya Village in Traditional Authority Njolomole, said she was poor and would sometimes go without food.