Social Intervention Programmes well deserved by Nigerians, says Osinbajo
by Elizabeth Archibong
May 29, 2017 | 4:28 pm| | | Start Conversation
The federal government’s Social Intervention Programmes (SIPs) is not a favour but deserved by Nigerians, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, said on Monday in Abuja.
Osinbajo was speaking at an event tagged “A Smile for Every Nigerian” to showcase the achievements of the SIPs at the State House Conference Centre, to commemorate the second anniversary of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
This is even as an overall policy framework is said to be finalised by the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning and awaiting the approval of the Federal Executive Council.
“l want to say this and this is really to our beneficiaries who are here, when I saw the lady who was so grateful for what has been done, for the help you have received, I just want to say to all of you that we do not consider that this programme is a favour that is done to you. It is not.
“You deserve this programme because you are citizens of this country. This country can provide and we will provide. For all those who need the help, we will do our very best to provide” he said.
Osinbajo described the NSIP as a “heart and head” programme because not only is it difficult to ignore the pains caused by poverty, articulate and detailed planning is required to provide appropriate remedies.
“The social Investment Programme is both a heart and a head programme. Heart, because the pains of poverty cannot be ignored.
“The programme is also a head or logical common sense issue. A country’s economic development is a function of the number living above poverty level.
“Our levels of poverty are so alarming that clearly some fundamental interventions by government are necessary” he said.
The programmes are categorised into four including the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and the N-Power.
The SIPs are a set of intervention programmes for which 500billion naira was budgeted for in the 2016 and 2017 appropriated year respectively. Already 200,000 graduates are said to have been engaged through the N-Power programme which is part of the scheme with an earlier target of 500,000.
Speaking on the features of the programme, Osinbajo announced that a the N-Power portal will be reopened on the 13th of June with a target to engage an additional 300,000 adding that the N-Power programme is the largest post tertiary jobs programme in Africa. “We now know that we can train large numbers electronically.
“Secondly, we have demonstrated that a transparent process of employment is possible. All of these young men and women have testified that they knew nobody, paid nobody to get the jobs they now have.
“Thirdly we have achieved great success in our financial inclusion efforts by bringing in many especially the extremely poor in the hinterlands into the formal banking system” he said adding that beneficiaries of the Conditional cash Transfer programme, home grown school feeding vendors and cooks, now have BVNs and bank accounts.
Most importantly we have ensured that our programmes are in all States not just APC States, so much so that some of the Governors in non APC States even take credit for these FG programmes.
Speaking on the testimonies shared by beneficiaries of the SIPs, the Acting President said though the remuneration was meagre, it was appreciated by those who have not had a job or source of livelihood for years. He thanked the recipients for how they have conducted themselves in the course of the programme.
The Acting President further disclosed that out of the N500 billion earlier reserved for the programme in 2017 Budget, N100 billion has now been earmarked for affordable housing scheme for low income earners on the county.
“The fund will enable us to provide inexpensive mortgages for hundreds of thousands across the country. Already the project has started in 11 States”, he stated.
In her remarks the Special Adviser, Social Investments, Office of the Vice President, Maryam Uwais said the SIPs was aimed at harmonizing and building upon the social protection initiatives of previous governments.
“The Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning has finalized the overall policy framework for social protection, currently awaiting FEC approval” she said adding that the Federal Government has established a National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO) and a National Cash Transfer Office (NCTU) under the National Social Investment Office in the Office of the Vice President in order to effectively institutionalize a coordinated and standardized system development platform for all Social Safety Net Programmes in Nigeria.
She added that the objective of this administration is to support and enable Nigerian citizens to live a life of security and dignity by allowing them to participate in, and benefit from the social and economic transformation of our country
Senate Minority Leader and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Goodwill Akpabio, endorsed the programme but called for an expansion and proper dissemination of information to educate Nigerians.
“poverty has no political party and of course, unemployment has no political party; hunger has no political party.
“So, whenever a government at the state or national level initiates a programme that is earmarked at putting food on the table of Nigerians or alleviating the poverty situation or helping us to bridge the unemployment gap; we must all applaud such a programme, and that’s why I came.
“I am happy with the testimony I heard from the beneficiaries of the programme today that yes, the programme is working even though it is not very well expanded and well publicised.
“I think the area the federal government needs to improve upon with the available resources is the area of information dissemination” he said.
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