Hope, as FG rolls out Social Investment Programme, by Chukwudi Enekwechi
It is consoling that for the first time in Nigeria’s history that the Federal Government has succeeded in articulating a social programme to cater for the needs of the most vulnerable and less privileged in our midst.
The commencement of payment of N5,000 monthly stipend to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society through the Conditional Cash Transfer signposts the determination of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to help cushion the effects of the present harsh economic situation.
There is no doubt that on account of the recession and global economic downturn, many Nigerians have been exposed to the vagaries of economic difficulties. It is therefore responsive on the part of the Buhari administration to initiate a programme or programmes aimed at ameliorating the hardship for the most vulnerable, the poor and unemployed.
For the sake of clarity, it is important to note that in October 2016, the sum of sixty-five billion naira was released by the federal government for the take-off of the programme. This amount formed part of the total N500 billion, which was appropriated and approved by the National Assembly in the 2016 budget.
To effectively implement the Social Investment Programme, the Federal Government spread it into four parts, which include the home grown school feeding programme that targets 5.5 million primary school pupils in all the states in Nigeria.
The second is a job-creation programme aimed at training 500,000 university graduates who will be deployed to work in their local communities as teachers, agricultural extension workers and health support workers.
The third scheme is the Conditional Cash Transfer programme, where one million care givers will receive a monthly stipend of N5,000 over a two-year period.
It is worthy of note that this particular programme has commenced in nine states of the federation and the remaining states will in no distant time benefit.
The fourth in the series is the Enterprise Promotion Programme, which is a loan scheme to be handled by the Bank of Industry. The programme will cater for about 1.66 million people made up of market women, traders, and artisans, small and medium entrepreneurs and youth that will receive amounts ranging from N10,000 to N100,000 as loans to boost their business activities.
The N-Power Programme for unemployed Nigerian graduates and non-graduates has since commenced in June 2016. It is expected that the programme will create a pool of 100,000 software developers, hardware service professionals, animators, graphic artists, building service professionals and other artisans.
The N-Power Programme is designed to help young Nigerians to acquire and develop lifelong skills to become solution providers in their various localities and neighbourhoods.
From the foregoing, it obvious that the federal government has a clear-cut policy to tackle extreme poverty in a multi-dimensional way. It is also clear that the Buhari administration is the first to design a holistic programme aimed at empowering the most vulnerable and needy in Nigeria.
The sincerity and good intentions of the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari are also evident in the key strategic infrastructural projects being executed across the country.
In the South East for example the, Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway, Ninth Mile Corner-Makurdi Road are presently being attended to, unlike in the past when rhetoric dominated the atmosphere.
It is pertinent to establish the fact that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is focused on rebuilding Nigeria’s dilapidated infrastructure and empowering the youths and unemployed to have a new lease of life. His programmes towards achieving these goals are unambiguous, verifiable and systematic.
There is no doubt that the bane of Nigeria’s economic development has been the inability of previous administrations to match their electoral promises with action, but under President Buhari we are witnessing a purposeful leadership driven by passion and love to see all parts of the country develop rapidly. This vision would not have materialized and expectations of Nigerians met without eliminating corruption from our national life.
Corruption has remained an albatross in the country’s quest for development and the ability of President Muhammadu Buhari to clearly identify the problem and tackle it headlong and decisively has enabled his administration to channel scarce resources to areas of urgent national need.
Therefore, as the federal government’s Social Investment Programme begins to take shape, it is expected that all Nigerians key into them and lend necessary support to the Buhari administration to enable it quickly address the myriad of challenges facing the country.
. Enekwechi, journalist and politician, writes from Abuja and can be reached via email@example.com.