Economy

FG didn’t budget N30b for SIPs in 2020 – Uwais

THE Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, on Saturday declared that the Federal Government did not budget N30 billion for Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) in 2020.

She denied media reports claiming that N30 billion was proposed instead of the N500 billion benchmark for the N-SIP since 2016.

The Communication Manager, National Social Investment Office, Justice Bibiye, quoted Mrs. Uwais as saying that nothing has changed in the budgeting cycle as regards the Social Investment Programmes.

According to her, the SIP budget has always been pegged at N400 billion while another N100 billion has been domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance as the counterpart of the Social Housing Fund.

Mrs. Uwais expressed the hope that shortfalls in budgetary releases in the last three years would be a thing of the past, as urgent progress needs to be made in efforts to uplift the living standards of poor citizens.

“In 2016, we got 16% of our budget, 36% in 2017 and 53% in 2018”, she said.

The Presidential aide, however, noted that despite the shortfalls in releases, the National Social Investment Programme has been very successful with over thirteen million people across the country directly impacted and over 44 million as secondary beneficiaries comprising families, agents, farmer and others in the value chain.

She also clarified that a total of 620,947 poor and vulnerable Nigerians are currently benefiting from the National Cash Transfer program, a key component of the National Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government.

The clarification became necessary following media reports which quoted her as saying that six million, six hundred and twenty thousand Nigerians are being paid the monthly N5000 stipend earmarked for the cash transfer beneficiaries.

Mrs. Uwais said although one million, four hundred and ninety-one thousand, two hundred and ninety-six (1,491,296) households comprising six million, fifty-six thousand (6,056,872) individuals have been captured on the National Social Register (NSR), six hundred and twenty thousand, nine hundred and forty-seven (620 947) of them are currently receiving monthly payments and being supported by trained community facilitators

On her recent award by Schwab Foundation, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Mrs. Uwais said she was overwhelmed by the international honour, saying it underscores the efforts of the Buhari Administration to improve a lot of economically disadvantaged citizens through its social protection schemes.

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