Uche Usim, Abuja
The Federal Government has reeled out the numerous benefits inherent in its N500 billion Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) aimed at human capital development.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, while speaking at the 10th Bola Ahmed Tinubu colloquium in Lagos, said seven million pupils are being fed a meal daily in 22 states.
He added that 200,000 unemployed graduates have been employed under the N-power scheme, while aggressive investments in agriculture have led to the creation of millions of jobs for Nigerians.
The Vice President described the N500 billion SIPs an audacious decision because of the fall in crude oil prices when the administration was elected in 2015.
He further said government, in line with its determination to curb corruption, has made significant strides in improving the welfare of Nigerians and reaching millions of beneficiaries through its SIPs.
He said: “We were determined to ensure that the notion of a country rich in all natural resources, but even richer in human capital, but being destroyed daily by grand corruption, and the impunity in the looting of public resources; we had to change that narrative.
“We saw a nation where a few in office had so privatised the commonwealth that, while oil prices were at their highest and we were getting growth figures as high as 7 per cent, the majority of people remained extremely poor.
On one of our campaign trips in Zamfara State, Mr. President said, “look at the eyes of this people,” and, of course, we saw the poverty and desperation in their eyes. Then he said, “they expect us to fix this problem of their poverty as soon as we get into office.”
Osinbajo noted that the Buhari administration has invested heavily, not only in its SIPs, but also in agriculture, in line with its core objectives to improve security and the country’s economy, in particular, the welfare of the people and curb corruption.
“So we decided on two things; one, to invest heavily in agriculture; to create jobs in the hinterlands, provide enough food locally and for all of the urban areas. In our agriculture programme, I’m sure that many would already agree that this has been a tremendous success. Several millions of Nigerians have been employed in agriculture. In fact, Mr. President tells the story of his own village where people used to lease out their farms to farmers from Kano. But now, nobody is leasing out their farms anymore. Everybody is on his own farm.