Uche Usim, Abuja
The federal government at the weekend hailed its array of Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), disclosing that 620,947 620,947 poor and vulnerable Nigerians are currently benefiting from the national cash transfer programme.
Speaking on a television show, the Special Assistant to the President on SIPs, Mrs Maryam Uwais said although 1,491,296 households comprising (m6,056,872 individuals have been captured on the National Social Register (NSR), 620 947 of them are currently receiving monthly payments and being supported by trained community facilitators.
The Presidential aide also clarified that N400 billion was budgeted for SIPs in the 2020 budget as has been the tradition since 2016; and not N30 billion being quoted in some quarters.
She said: “Nothing has changed in the budgeting cycle as relates to the SIPs. It has always been pegged at N400 billion, while another hundred billion naira has been domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance as counterpart of the Social Housing Fund.
Uwais expressed the hope that shortfalls in budgetary releases in the last three years would be urgently addressed to immediately improve the living standards of poor citizens.
“In 2016, we got 16% of our budget, 36% in 2017 and 53% in 2018”, she said.
The Presidential aide, however, noted that despite the shortfalls in releases, the National Social Investment Programme has been very successful with over 13 million people across the country directly impacted and over 44 million as secondary beneficiaries comprising families, agents, farmers and others in the value chain.
On her recent award by Schwab Foundation, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum WEF, Mrs Uwais said she was overwhelmed by the international honour, saying it underscores the efforts of the Buhari administration to improve the lot of economically-disadvantaged citizens through its social protection schemes.