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Presidency to Take Over Social Investment Schemes

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An Executive bill to amend the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) Agency Act  passed Second Reading in the Senate on October 10.

The bill seeks to amend sections 9(3), 14(1), 21(1), 26 (1) and 33 to move the  management and implementation of the National Social Investment programmes from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to the Presidency. The social investment programmes were established in 2016 under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to address youth unemployment and promote social development and the NSIP Agency Act was subsequently enacted in May 2023. The NSIP comprises four programmes, namely: the N-Power programme, the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme,  the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme and the Conditional Cash Transfer programmes.

Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele in the lead debate on the bill, stated that the amendment is as a result of President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to ensure that the social investment programmes are standard, transparent, effective and have an accountable structure of delivery, with adequate co-ordination and synergy among key government agencies. He added that it was also in fulfilment of section 17 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which provides that a State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that all citizens have the opportunity of securing adequate means of livelihood and ensuring that public assistance is provided in deserving cases or conditions, among others. The bill was unanimously adopted and referred to the Committee of the Whole for further legislative action.

Only over a week ago, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, suspended the N-Power programme for irregularities associated with the programme. She stated that an investigation would be launched into the scheme to address irregularities particularly regarding payment and deployment of beneficiaries. She also added that the scheme would be revamped to engage up to 5 million youths in five years. When the bill to amend the NSIP Agency Act is passed into law,  all the four social investment programmes, including N-Power will be managed by the Presidency and away from the powers of the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry. This will mean that the overall management of  these programmes, including any plans to restructure them will be driven by the Presidency.