From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has said passage of the National Social Investment Office Establishment Bill will help the country come out of poverty as accurate data of poor people would be collected and palliatives distributed.
Farouq, who spoke in Abuja when members of the House Committee on Poverty Alleviation paid a visit to the Ministry, explained further that the bill if passed will enable the effective management of the various programmes under it.
‘The NSIP has huge poverty reduction potential and the expansion of the programme will contribute significantly to the realization of the National aspiration of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030, consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals.
‘The passage of the National Social Investment Office Establishment Bill into law will enable effective management of the programme, enhance its impact and ensure its sustainability, hence the need for expedited action,’ she said.
The minister noted that the early utilisation of capital released was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic hence a greater percentage of the utilisation was done after the return of mopped up funds in March and April.
According to her, the approved recurrent expenditure of NSIP in the 2020 Budget was reduced by 31.6% as a result of several factors including the COVID-19 pandemic while the ministry is yet to receive any release for the implementation of the COVID-19 Cash Transfer.
‘Mr President has graciously approved the expansion of the NSIP and directed the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to make adequate provision for the expansion of the programme.
‘The approval is for the expansion of N-Power beneficiaries from four hundred and fifty thousand to one million beneficiaries, disbursement of GEEP loans to additional one million beneficiaries, expansion of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme to target an additional five million children in conventional and non-conventional schools under the Alternate School Programme and the expansion of the Conditional Cash Transfer to include an additional one million rural poor,’ she explained.
Earlier, Chairman of the Committee, Abdullahi Balarabe Salame, noted that the visit of the members was to evaluate the ministry’s budget performance last year and in the first quarter of this year.
‘Our visit is to ensure the monitoring and evaluation of the year 2020 and the first quarter of the 2021 budget implementation.
‘We are here to see how you implemented the 2020 budget and how far you have gone in the 2021 budget. This is to ensure that details are provided for us in accordance with the Appropriation Act.’