Kehinde Akintola – Abuja
Federal Government on Tuesday, said the ministry has so far impacted the lives of 15 million families through the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIPs).
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq disclosed this in Abuja during the 23rd edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s scorecard series, averred that NSIP has been the key instrument in uplifting the lives of the poorest of the poor individuals in the country.
“Considering the number, 80 million is quite a huge number and the limited resources at our disposal we can only do what I have mentioned earlier.”
Hence, she observed that it was impossible for the Ministry to reach out to every citizen considering the available resources at government’s disposal, saying: “that is not very possible but we did our best and we have impacted on these lives; people who before could not feed, they can now afford to feed themselves and members of their families”.
“People who do not have any form of business have been supported now with some sort of capital to start their businesses for them to be productive members of society. But given the available resources, we’ve impacted more lives.
“Let me also mention here that when this administration came on board in 2015, I think the statistics then showed that 75 percent of our populace lived below poverty line, the story is different now. I don’t know the exact statistics but it’s in the ranges of 45 to 48. So, we have made significant progress in this regard,” she noted.
The Minister who reiterated her commitment towards ensuring the promotion and protection of the dignity of the vulnerable Nigerians solicited the cooperation and understanding of members of the media and the public to continue serving humanity.
She said: “The NSIP has provided assistance and hope to millions of Nigerians. Let me once again list them as the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, the job creation unit (N-Power), the National Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and the Government Enterprise and Employment Programme (GEEP).
“The programmes were all initiated by the Federal Government as part of intervention programmes to cater for the welfare and well-being of vulnerable Nigerians.
“The National Homegrown School Feeding Programme has already captured and fed over 9.9 million pupils across the 36 States of the Federation, including the FCT.
“The Ministry, through the N-Power Programme has supported over 1.5 million unemployed youths across Nigeria. The Ministry has provided and supervised the distribution of relief materials to victims of recent food disaster across the country.
“The Ministry carries out impact assessments on quarterly basis by independent monitors to ensure effective service delivery.
“The National Senior Citizens Centre was established with the mandate to identify the need of senior citizens and cater for them, especially their health and physical well-being.
“The centre has also developed a 10-year strategic plan and commences operationalisation of a National Policy on Ageing, which has also high-level technical support programmes and activities.
She maintained that all 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are currently benefiting from the Home Grown School Feeding programme.
“All states of the federation that have public primary schools do qualify and all States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory are on this programme, irrespective of party affiliation.
“I also add that this is a Federal Government’s programme being implemented by the States. The State Governments select the cooks, they also select the Aggregators because it is our belief that these primary schools belong to the State Governments. So, we give them that opportunity to also participate,” she noted.
While responding to question on the qualification of beneficiaries from the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), she said: “This is a very very interesting programme that is being supported by the World Bank and the selection process is being done very transparently because the community themselves, the leaders of the communities come together to identify the poor and vulnerable.
“In that composition of the leaders of the community we have the community leaders, we have the religious leaders bodies, we have the youth body, women body, they come together and identify this is the household that qualifies and need to be supported depending on what that community regards as poverty in that community. It may be that that household cannot feed their families two-square meals or even a meal per day. That household qualifies,” she noted.
In his remarks, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, blasted opposition parties that secured a court order preventing the extension of the deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the swapping of old naira notes for redesigned ones, saying that they have stopped President Muhammadu Buhari from providing succour to suffering Nigerians.
Alhaji Mohammed asserted that the action of the opposition parties coming after another group of parties threatened to boycott the coming election over the same matter, shows that the opposition has turned the issue into a political game.