The special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investments, Maryam Uwais, has called for social investment as the pillar to economic growth.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP on the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) in Nigeria, Uwais noted that with Nigeria’s current growth rate, it would overtake the United States to become the third most populous country in the world by 2050, but that the issue of poverty will continue to remain a significant threat to development.
She pointed out that based on the World Poverty Clock statistics by the World Data Lab, Nigeria needs to ensure that 11.9 people are graduated out of poverty per minute to escape extreme poverty, saying Nigeria has a deficit of 6.8 people every minute.
The federal government established NSIP, which is a portfolio of programmes created in 2015 to deliver socio-economic assistance to the poorest Nigerians across the nation with about 9.76 million direct beneficiaries.
She stated that achieving macroeconomic stability is a key execution priority for the Nigerian government as identified in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) released in 2017.
According to her, for Nigeria to achieve the goal of being a top economy by 2030, there is need for strategic plans to support the most vulnerable in the society and catalyze productivity by those that will be the most productive, especially youthful workforce and potential entrepreneurs.
She added that 9.76 million direct beneficiaries had been created under this programme, saying that job creation and youth empowerment (N-Power) targeted 500,000 volunteers, 100,000 artisans, eight regional innovation hubs and one million STEM-E Junior.
“While under National Home Grown School Feeding (NHGSF), the programme targets 5.5 million children, secondary beneficiaries including cooks and farmers; under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), one million poorest households were targeted; while under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), 1.66 million micro, small and medium enterprises are to be helped.
She added that for the programmes to achieve results in the long term, the social protection policy activities must involve a broad and comprehensive strategy towards reducing poverty.
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