…Says it’s a legacy bill of the 9th Assembly
By: Kehinde Akintola & Tijani Adeyemi, Abuja
The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has expressed optimism that the National Social Investment Programmes (Establishment) bill would be a legacy legislation passed by the 9th session of the National Assembly.
Senator Lawan disclosed this during the public hearing on the NSIP (Establishment) bill, 2023, held at the instance of the Senate Committee on Special Duties chaired by Senator Yusuf Yusuf.
Represented by the Majority Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate President averted that the “National Social Investment Programme is a pet project of the Buhari administration established pursuant to the provisions of Section 14(2b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended with the main aim of providing Youth Skills Development, feeding primary school pupils, empowerment of market women and building capabilities of local farmers for the purpose of poverty reduction and improving the standard of living of our people.
“Recall that from independence to date, successive administrations have implemented a number of policies, programmes and projects aimed at reducing poverty and improving the standard of living of the people, however none of such previous administration, ever deemed it necessary to provide legislative framework for such intervention programmes.
“Recall also that, since the inception of the NSIP in 2015, one million youths have been empowered through the N-Power Programme and additional 500,000 others are currently undergoing various trainings under the programme as approved by the President.
“The cash transfer has enrolled 1,975, 381 poor and vulnerable households from the National Social Register into a National Beneficiary Register. The NBR alone has 9,841,700 household individuals in the 36 states of the federation.
“This underscores the need for a proper legislative framework to guide the federal government in the implementation of these laudable programmes and interventions,” Senator Lawan noted.
In her presentation, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, explained that the bulk of the Ministry’s existence lies in providing humanitarian assistance to the less privileged, hence the need for the NSIP establishment bill to be considered and passed as an Act; in order for it to serve as an agency.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, said: “The Ministry has been in existence for more than three years now. We have done a lot in providing humanitarian assistance to millions of Nigerians. The only way to sustain the achievements we have recorded over the years is to create an agency for NSIP, which is what this bill aims to achieve.
“If we make the mistake of not creating an agency for NSIP, we are likely to lose the goodwill of some of the workers, who are working 24 hours to provide humanitarian assistance to millions of Nigerians.
“We need the agency. It’s long overdue. We need it to make sure that the hardwork of the workers is established, consolidated and inherited by the incoming administration,” the Minister said.
In his remarks, Chairman, Senate Committee on Special Duties, Senator Yusuf Yusuf observed that the bill was referred to the Committee for further legislative actions, as part of the methodology for the exercise that this public hearing was called to enable the Committee gather critical information and valuable data to enrich our decision in line with global best practices and international best lessons.
According to him, the proposed Bill
seeks to “establish an Agency of Government charged with the responsibility of implementing Federal Government policies, programmes and project in the Area of National Social Investment, which include N-Power programmes, Conditional Cash Transfer programme, National Home grown School feeding, entrepreneurship and empowerment programmes as well as such other programmes as may be approved by the President.
“The beneficiaries of the programmes under the act include unemployed persons, including unskilled persons, vulnerable widows, orphans and children, person with Disabilities, Vulnerable older persons and such other categories as the National Social Investment Board may with the approval of the President, determine from time to time.
“The Bill also seek to establish the National Social Register, which will be mined for implementing the programme. The National Social Register will contain the electronic information and data of poor and the vulnerable persons from all the 36 States and the FCT that is scientifically mined and analyzed, and interpreted for the purpose of long term National Development.
According to him, the bill when passed into law “would be one of the legacy legislations of the 9th Senate, in line with its people focused Agenda. This is because the Bill will provide the needed institutional legal and Regulatory Frameworks to guide the Federal Government, in selecting the target Beneficiaries and in implementing the various interventions programmes in accordance with the Tenets of Social Accountability.”