As Buhari Strives to Institutionalise Social Investment Programmes, by Musa Ilallah

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Nine months to the end of his second and final term in office, the PMB administration has in its recent Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting in Abuja, approved a bill to give the fight against poverty a formal legal backing. Towards this end, FEC approved a bill to institutionalise the National Social Investment Programme, NSIP of the PMB administration for the country.

As one of the flagships of the Buhari administration with the ultimate aim of ‘tackling poverty and hunger’ and lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty, NSIP came into being in 2016.

It is estimated that as at the take off of NSIP, 62.6% of Nigerians lived below the international poverty line (PPP US$1.25 per day) which translated to about 100 million Nigerians.

Disturbed as it were, with the real threat of poverty staring Nigerians in the face, especially with the figure of 112million Nigerians living below poverty line in 2012 as declared by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, the Buhari administration launched the National Social Investment Programme, NSIP to tackle the country’s high rate of poverty and economoc vulnerability. The programme was aimed at lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.

The programme comprises of N-Power designed to assist young graduates acquire and develop lifelong skills; the Household Uplifting Programme, HUP with its flagship programme of Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT aimed at supporting those within the lowest poverty brackets; Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP which is a micro-lending intervention for traders, farmers, women, etc and National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, NHGSF which provides one daily meal for junior primary school pupils across the country.

Initially domiciled in the office of Nigeria’s Vice President before it was moved to the newly created Humanitarian Affairs Ministry, beneficiaries of the one year N-Power work-for-cash social assistance programme receive monthly stipend of N30,000 which target agriculture, construction, health, education, and the state’s tax collection system sectors.

Among the five N-Power components, the education sub-component is the most popular, due to the large number of Youth deployed to teach in public schools.

The school feeding programme designed mainly to empower more than 100, 000 women in rural communities, were engaged as cooks and over 100,000 small holder farmers in the local areas where the schools are located while creating employment opportunities across sectors such as transportation and manufacturing. aimed at feeding almost 10million pupils in 52,604 schools across 30 states of the country.

The Federal Government also obtained $500 million credit facility from the World Bank to run the initiative for six years between 2016 and 2022, while additional source of the fund comes from the N500 billion in Federal Government budgets since 2016 for NSIP.

The Federal Government of Nigeria established the NSIP to specifically tackle poverty and hunger across the country. The programmes under the NSIP focuses on ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable populations, including Children, Youths and Women. Since then these programmes combined have supported more than 4 million beneficiaries country-wide through a fair and transparent process supported by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and other notable MDAs with aligned goals.

So far so good. Beneficiaries of the N-Power programme have increased from 500,000 to 1 million beneficiaries while restructuring of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP has successfully registered over 600, 000 potential beneficiaries in all the 774 LGAs of the country.

On the other hand, the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, NHGSF had during the period provided meals to nearly 10 million school children nationwide, among other advantages.

Other notable successes recorded by the NSIP include its Household Uplifting Programme, HUP which has as its flagship the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT covering all the 36 States and FCT. A total of 1,676,799 eligible households across the country are enrolled into the CCT intervention and benefiting from the monthly N5,000 grant.

A number of strategic and well orchestrated programmes by various previous governments in the country since Independence in 1960 featured prominently with a view to addressing the increasing number of Nigerians dragged into poverty. Some were however poorly executed due to bad leadership among others factors.

The 1986 IBB regime’s Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP with its flagship scheme of Better Life Programme, BLP specially targeted at Rural Women and pursued by the office of the country’s First Lady, Maryam Babangida, was aimed at improving the quality of lives and social status of local women.

The same IBB regime in 1986 set up the National Directorate of employment, NDE aimed at reducing level of massive unemployment among the country’s youths.

Similarly, IBB ‘s Peoples Bank of Nigeria, PBN headed by late Dr Tai Solarin, a prominent social critic in the early 1990s came on board to encourage art of savings and provisioning credit facilities for the rural downtrodden who had little or no access to conventional banking.

Late General Sani Abacha also during his day’s as the country,’s leader came up with the Family Support Programme, FSP and Family Economic Advancement Programme, FEAP.

Other programmes included National Land Development Authority, NALDA in 1993 aimed at providing strategic and operational support to Nigerians for the development of land and resources at the rural community level; Poverty Alleviation programme, PAP in 2000 to create jobs for unemployed youths to address Youth restiveness and the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP in 2001.

The late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua administration in 2004 through the parliament, promulgated Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEDAN scheme particularly to advance the course of development of micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs sector of the economy thus creating three tiers and levels of development at the National called NEEDS; at the states called SEEDS and at the local levels as LEEDS.

These were aimed at fast tracking poverty alleviation simultaneously as encapsulated in the then famous 7-point agenda of the Yar’Adua administration.

In his wisdom, Yar’Adua’s successor President Jonathan Goodluck also came to town with his own approach called SURE-P out of necessity to assuage and ameliorate Nigerians’ pains and agony arising from the removal of Petroleum subsidy.

Undoubtedly, the consortium of strategies adopted by various governments in their country were genuinely aimed at improving the lives of all Nigerians particularly the less privileged so that they can have a sense of belonging in their country and contribute their widow’s mite towards its growth and development.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Buhari’s NSIP stands out as the most robust, most enterprising in all these efforts as well as capturing the highest number of beneficiaries. PMB’s endeavour to cast these Programmes in steel by giving it the force of law is most commendable.

Musa Ilallah

Emeka Anyaoku Street Abuja musahk123@yahoo.com

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