BY MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja
The federal government said 300,000 poor and vulnerable households in Nigeria have benefited from its social protection programme in 2017.
National programme coordinator , Cash Transfer Project in the federal government established National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO), Mrs. Temitope Sikaiye, made the disclose yesterday at a one day stakeholders meeting for the adoption of the National Safety-Net Project (NASSP) project implementation manual (PIM) held in Abuja.
The federal government had in 2016, established the social protection programme that allows poor and vulnerable Nigerians receive N5000 monthly – aimed at reducing poverty and ensure inclusive growth where all Nigerians are part of the country’s development process.
The target is to provide access to 1 million poor households under the World Bank assisted expanded national social safety nets system yearly. But the project coordinator said only 300,000 households benefited in the outgoing 2017.
Corroborating the figure at the workshop that was attended by all states of the federation, acting national coordinator of NASSCO, Mr. Ademola Ali blamed the situation on the tedious and technical procedure for registering the beneficiaries. He said the community-based targeting system is World Bank driven.
“The World Bank credit has not fully taken off. The process is very important and very tedious. The World Bank at every point in time must give you a no objection for you to go ahead. If you have not finished one stage, you cannot go to the other. Also, not all the states have keyed into the programme. Some states are still at the elementary stage of just assessing them. There are some states that are not even part of it yet. We are going into five new states. The procedure is very long and tedious,” Mr. Ali told journalists at the programme venue yesterday.
He said 29 states are currently participating in the programme. But could not mention how much has been spent on the programme so far. “I don’t really know. But for the states that are already engaged, we pay about N2 billion every two months. The amount I gave you cannot be constant. Am talking of the last one now because it is when they join the money increase. Initially, we were paying about N200,000 when we have only one state. And even the one state, they are still working on them. So, it’s not easy to just give a figure and generalize
. I don’t want to misinform anybody,” he added.
He said the event was also organised to brief the member-states of the roles of every stakeholder in the implementation of the federal government’s social welfare scheme. It was to address the issue of conflicts among leaders and strictly define roles of every participant.
He noted that the PIM contained the organisational structure, powers of approval, how the SOCU should operate and the relationship between the SOCU, the states and the federal government. “So that when we have a guide, everybody knows his role. The intention was to bring all the states to agree on the new implementation manual for easy and fast implementation of the programme.
“This is not a federal government affair alone. This is everybody coming together to take a decision. Whereas the federal government pays the bills, the beneficiaries reside in the different states of the federation. The joy is that we are able to come together and stand on how best to serve our people. The takeaway is that we need to do more to move Nigeria forward,” Ali said.