Senate wants FG to present framework for disbursement of N500b Social Intervention Funds
The Senate on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to present a clear framework that did not marginalize any segment of the country in the disbursement of the N500 billion Social Intervention Funds.
The call followed the adoption of a motion on: “Need to Avoid the Mismanagement of the N500 billion Social Intervention Funds,” sponsored by the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume.
Ndume had observed that one of the cardinal thrusts of the All Progressives Congress government was the use of social networks through intervention schemes to foster inclusive growth and opportunity for Nigerians.
He said that the 8th National Assembly, in consonance with Federal Government’s report, fully approved the sum of N500 billion in the 2016 budget to facilitate the social intervention fund.
According to him, the government said that it intends to create job opportunities for 500,000 teachers.
Ndume said: “Government also stated that 5.5 million children are to be provided with meals through school feeding programmes.
“The programme also targets to have a complementary enterprise programme which is targeted at empowering up to one million market women, 400,000 artisans and 200,000 agricultural workers nationwide.”
Ndume said the current economic situation and the need to have a social intervention scheme that could lift Nigerians out of poverty was the overriding concern of the National Assembly.
According to him, it was for this reason that the national assembly did not insist on a proper framework for the implementation of the fund when it approved the programme for the federal government.
He, however, decried the process being applied on the programme, saying “the implementation of such a huge programme is now being carried out in the same manner as the other failed social intervention funds like SURE-P”.
Ndume noted that the new concept of MPower, requiring teachers, market women and graduates to register online, was faulty and discriminated against rural women and men who were “technologically disabled”.
He insisted that a proper intervention scheme that Nigerians needed must be robust enough to capture all segment of the population.
The motion was supported by other senators, including the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who said the social intervention fund was meant to be for all Nigerians irrespective of political affiliation or constituency.
Ekweremadu said: “We are living witnesses of SURE-P; only relatives of the past administration benefited. We must use the power of oversight to make people benefit from the motion.”
The Federal Government is expected to present the framework to the National Assembly within two weeks.
In a remark, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, commended the sponsor and co-sponsors of the motion.
Saraki admitted that the intervention programme “does not show enough clarity and transparency” and in spite of its good intention, it does not appear that it might achieve what it was meant for.
“It is particularly to ensure that any part of the society is not marginalized”.
Saraki urged the sponsors to ensure that corrections were made so that “we don’t have the same problem we had with the previous intervention programmes”.