The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, said no fewer than 1, 940, 004 vulnerable Nigerians are currently receiving N5,000 cash gifts each month from the federal government.
Speaking at a one-day stakeholders’ retreat on National Social Investment (Establishment) Bill organised by the Senate Committee on Social Duties, on Thursday in Abuja, Farouq said the bill was to provide a statutory and institutional framework for the implementation of the National Social Investment Programme, NSIP.
The minister, who was represented on the occasion by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Nasir Sani Gwarzo, explained that the NSIP was created in 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari to address social and economic inequalities and alleviate poverty among Nigerians.
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According to her, there are four social support programmes that are meant to empower the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians to enable them to attain an acceptable standard of living.
Farouq said the NSIP is, directly and indirectly, impacting the lives of poor Nigerians through its four cluster programmes.
These, she said included the N-Power Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP, the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, NHGSFP and the Conditioner Cash Transfer Programme, CCTP.
The minister further stressed that the programmes were designed to serve as various forms of social safety nets specifically targeting those at the bottom of the social ladder who requires some form of assistance to enable them to become productive members of society and prevent more people from falling below the poverty line.
She said: “A wide range of sustainable development goals including poverty reduction, education, health, social inclusion and empowerment can be achieved through the NSIP.
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“Section 17(3) of the constitution provides that the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that all its citizens without discrimination have the opportunity of securing adequate means of livelihood and ensuring provision is made for public assistance in deserving cases of need among others.
“Contributory social protection schemes such as social insurance, health insurance, and the pension scheme are all backed by legislation. The laws are, The Nigeria Social insurance Trust Fund Act, the National Health Insurance Authority Act, and the Pension Reform Act.
“The NSIP, which is a non-contributory social protection scheme is not backed by any law and this underscores the need for it to also have a piece of legislation.”
According to her: “Since the inception of the NSIP in 2015, one million youths have been empowered through the N-Power Programme and additional 500,000 others are currently undergoing various trainings under the programme as approved by the President.
“The cash transfer has enrolled 1,975, 381 poor and vulnerable households from the National Social Register into a National Beneficiary Register. The NBR alone has 9, 841, 700 household individuals in the 36 states of the federation.”
The Cash Transfer programme, she avowed, supports the poor and vulnerable to improve consumption and develop savings skills to reduce poverty and helps build their resilience to withstand shocks.
“A total of 1, 940, 004 beneficiaries are currently receiving cash transfers monthly,” she affirmed.
In the same vein, she said public primary schools across the country “have witnessed an unprecedented number of new enrollment as a result of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme.”
The programme, she said, is “currently feeding 10 million pupils in over 66, 000 public schools across Nigeria” and is “gradually reducing cases of out-of-school children nationwide.”
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She further revealed: “Currently, 2, 653, 333, beneficiaries have accessed the GEEP loans under three categories including Trader Moni, Market Moni and Farmer Moni.
“A total of 1, 142, 783 individuals across the country have registered to benefit from the second round of GEEP under the three loan programmes.”
Chairman of the Senate panel, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (APC, Taraba Central), explained that the retreat was aimed at bringing together, critical stakeholders from the executive arm of government to be at par with the legislature on the proposed legislation.
“Information is a very important tool for legislation. Since the government policies emanate from legislation, we invited critical stakeholders from the ministry and other agencies so that they can furnish the committee with vital information that would enable them to come up with robust legislation for the NSIP establishment,” he said.
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