In furtherance of the National Social Investment Programmes, the federal government has kicked off the training of independent monitors for the National Social Investment Programme to facilitate the process and curb corruption in the scheme.
The National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) was established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 with the aim of lifting the citizens out of poverty through a number of social interventions which include N-Power, a job creation programme for youths, the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme (CCT), and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
The programmes were also designed to ensure a more equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable populations, including children, youths, and women. Specifically, four programmes were initiated to address poverty and boost economic development.
For better implementation, the programmes were moved to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in 2019 following its creation.
The scope of these programmes covers about 13 million Nigerians in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
For instance, the N-Power provides young Nigerians with job training and education, as well as a monthly stipend of N30,000. The conditional cash transfer supports the most vulnerable by providing no-strings-attached cash to those in the lowest income group, helping to reduce poverty, improving nutrition and self-sustainability, and supporting development through increased consumption.
The GEEP is a micro-lending investment scheme targeting entrepreneurs with a focus on young people and women. It provides no-cost loans to the beneficiaries, help to reduce the start-up costs of business ventures in Nigeria.
Finally, the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSF) attempts to increase school enrolment by providing meals to schoolchildren, particularly those in poor and food-insecure regions. The programme works with local farmers and empowers women as cooks, building the community and sustaining economic growth from farm to table.
However, these enormous programmes can only yield fruits if there is proper monitoring to insulate them from corruption and other sharp malpractices.
The minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development (FMHDSD), Sadiya Umar Farouq, said 5,000 independent monitors had been trained across the country and assigned to monitor the beneficiaries within their schools, households and market clusters to ensure that the primary objectives are achieved.
According to her, the independent monitors shall verify disbursement running into billions of naira made available to Nigerians under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
Of this number, 259 independent monitors were trained in Kano, 168 in Jigawa, 100 in Katsina, 45 in Ekiti, 56 in Osun and 195 were selected from Lagos and others.
The minister said the trained independent monitors will monitor the programme at the community level. They will be assigned to monitor beneficiaries within their locality in schools, households, and market clusters with the focus of ensuring that the primary objectives of these programmes are achieved.
However, they will be supervised by officials of the ministry and other stakeholders at the state level.
She continued: “It is therefore my expectation that you carry out this responsibility with outmost diligence and sincerity. Please be informed that the ministry will not hesitate to take you off the programme if you are found violating the terms of your engagement. We are also working with security agencies like the DSS, EFCC and the ICPC to monitor these programmes. If you are found engaging in any form of malpractice or fraud, you will be handed over to them for investigation and prosecution.”
In her address during the ceremony to unveiling independent monitors for (NSIP), the Lagos State commissioner for wealth creation and employment, Mrs Yetunde Arobieke, said Tradermoni, Marketmoni, Farmermoni, N-Power, conditional cash transfer, homegrown schools feeding, special grant transfer, public workforce and skills for jobs, youth employment and social support operation and now rural women cash grant, have had remarkable impact, and improved the living conditions of rural women and taken more people out of poverty line.
Unlike N-Power recruitment that is done via an online registration portal, the NSIP Independent Monitors’ recruitment is handled by FMHDSD or SIP in states by appointment or selection.