80 Million Nigerians Are Poor ― Presidency
The Presidency has affirmed that the estimated number of poor people in the country is 80 million with nearly 500,000 of the extremely poor among them now captured in the National Social Register.
Special Adviser to the president on National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) Mrs Maryam Uwais, who briefed State House correspondents in Abuja at the weekend, on the achievements of her office, said the estimate is from World Poverty Clock.
She said 297,973 poor households in 20 states are now been paid stipends under the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme (NCTP).
According to her, even though credible targeting has been a major concern, SIP has started to develop a Social Register in all the states that have met the criteria provided in the MoU signed with the NSIP Office.
She said: “It is important for us to get the targeting right so only the poorest of the poor will get paid. We have, according to statistics, up to 80 million people that are poor. And so, we had to device a strategy to ensure that we get the poorest and also insulate the process of getting to that poorest from any outside influence, whatever the influence maybe.
“So what we do fight is sign an MOU with the states. We have roles and responsibility on each side though we know is not enforceable but we want both sides to know what their responsibilities are.
“We select 30 percent because we had cash constraints. We couldn’t cover 80 million people that were poor. We now said we will start with 30 percent from each state. That comes to 30 percent of the poorest of the poor from each senatorial district.
“Working with NBS, we looked at the local governments that are the poorest in the senatorial districts for a balance and we shared the names of the local government with the states. They signed off.”
She added: “So far, we have 455,857 poor and vulnerable households uploaded onto the National Social Register, from which 297,973 households have been mined and are being paid stipends in 20 States.
“These States are Jigawa Bauchi, Kogi, Osun, Cross River, Anambra, Katsina, Kano, Taraba, Gombe, Adamawa, Niger, Nassarawa, Benue, Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara, Borno (IDP), Kaduna and Plateau.
“We have trained 2,495 community facilitator whose responsibility it is to engage the caregivers in the households being paid, facilitate the forming of cooperatives, basic financial training, skills and support.
“We also have collated data on the and demographics of each community we engage coordinates relating to education, health, access, payment and connectivity.”
Uwais, who noted that NSIP’s mandate covered N-power, National Home Grown School Feeding (NHGSFP), Government Enterprise and Empowerment (GEEP) and the National Cash Transfer Programme (NCTP), recalled that the first payments were made in December 2016, signaling the commencement of the actual implementation of “what must be the most ambitious social protection programme conceived and being implemented for the country. “
The presidential aide stated: “Almost two years into the implementation of the suite of programmes, we are continuously learning lessons and building bridges that are designed to achieve our overarching goals of empowering the unemployed, giving opportunities to children who could not or did not have access to a meal a day, providing sustenance for the poor and the vulnerable and granting access to small and medium-sized enterprises who were hitherto unable to gain access to finance.
“The Social Investment Programmes have achieved profound successes, so far. One of the most important aspects of the Social Investment Programmes are the millions of Nigerians who have and would benefit directly and indirectly from each of the various schemes.
“All our beneficiaries are being paid directly, with the BVN being an integral part of our design
“Today, we have recorded 7.9 million direct beneficiaries since inception and have a presence in the 36 states of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory.”
Uwais disclosed that under N-power: 200,000 graduate beneficiaries are currently enrolled and working in various institutions around the country with the target being 500,000.
She said the selection of the next batch of 300,000 beneficiaries has been completed and those selected will be engaged in the next few months.
“20,000 more beneficiaries in the non-graduate category are set to commence training in 34 States around the country, while we continue to audit the skill centres we can utilize in the remaining States,” she said.
According to her, under GEEP 259,541 beneficiaries of 4,784 cooperatives have been paid in the 36 States and FCT just as the next batch of 148,611 loans has been approved for disbursement.
As for the NHGSFP, 7,054,687 children in primary 1-3, she added. are currently being fed daily in 20 states with two more states to begin this month.
She noted that the programme has also hired and empowered 72,510 cooks in the five schools being serviced.
Uwais posited: “What we have achieved thus far is a result of the dedication of an extraordinary indefatigable and focused team of staff and the strong support of our top leadership, in the persons of the President and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We have created a level-playing field for all our beneficiaries and, with a selection process that is objective, transparent and efficient.
“The four social investment programmes are headed by unique individuals with the capacity, leadership qualities, attributes and competencies to execute and deliver upon their programme objectives. They are present with us today, to answer any questions that you may wish to ask
“As our programmes unfold around the country, we call on all Nigerians to join us in this effort as the ultimate beneficiaries of the impact of our activities, as we continue implementation with diligence, efficiency and transparency.”
Also speaking at the session, Senior Special Assistant to the president on NSIP, Ismaeel Ahmed, noted that both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo we’re more focused on improving the lives of the people rather than dwelling on next year’s election.
Asked what specific SIP achievements could be used to campaign during the election, he said: “When we set out and were campaigning in 2015, we didn’t say what we are going to do is going to be solely for political reasons.
“The president and Vice President are more committed to the electorates rather than elections and are concerned about the future rather than just next one year.
“So, this is entirely about the country itself and not just for political reasons.
“But, if you are talking about what we can leverage on, there are a lot of successes in SIP. We are engaging 73,000 cooks that are growing rural economy.
“They are buying from local farmers. Therefore, this is growing the rural economy. They are feeding some 7. something million children and we have reduced the number of out of school children in the last one or two years.
“We have been implementing the school feeding programme. engaging 200,000 young unemployed graduates that are receiving N30,000 a month.
“Those are successes in itself.
So, if we are looking for things to leverage on, thump our chests and storm the political campaigns and say we should be voted again, we have a lot of success stories to tell but that is not the entirety and essence of this Programme.
“The essence of this programme is to reduce poverty and to distribute wealth as much as we can.
“The president and Vice President care less about the elections like I said. They care more about the citizens.”
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