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FG’s social security programmes: Lawyer, CSOs advocate better funding

Mrs. Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Protection Plan.
Mrs. Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Protection Plan.

Lagos-based lawyer  Gabriel Ojumah and national convener United Action for Democracy (UAD) have joined other Civil Society Organisations to call on the Federal Government  to release funds voted for the Nigeria’s National Social Investment Programme (NNSIP) for the various projects under it to achieve  better results.

Barrister Ojumah, whose group, the UAD is made up of 46 civil society organisations, said during a telephone chat, yesterday, that government was only paying lip service to its NNSIP if adequate funds are not channeled to the programme.

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Apart from the UAD, ActionAid and other international development organisations including the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID), and Partnership to Engage, Reform, and Learn (PERL) said they have consistently monitored the NNSIP and particularly commend the FG’s Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP), which is having desired impact on the lives of school children across the country.

According to ActionAid, government allocated N1.3 billion to NNSIP between 2016 and 2018. However, only N463,298,913,714 was released within the same period. The CSO believes that with more funding, the social security programmes of the government will make better impact on the people.

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In a release signed by the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, the group acknowledged their supervisory and monitoring role in three projects under the Nigeria National Social Investment Programmes (NNSIP), and gave the programmes a clean bill of health.

On the school feeding programme, Obi stated: “From the monitoring conducted, there are clear evidence of meals provided in primary schools through the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP). This resulted in more pupils going to school, improved concentration of pupils during classroom teaching, reduction in absenteeism, and in some cases reduction in the rate of illness among pupils as reported by head teachers, parents and pupils in the communities visited”.

Obi said ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has been following the implementation of the National Social Investment Programme in Nigeria.

AAN, with support from DFID, PERL and Ford Foundation, coordinated civil society bodies from the 35 states (except Ekiti that had problems with funds transfer) and the FCT, to independently monitor, evaluate and report findings based on the implementation of three out of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) namely: N-Power Programme, Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).

“Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) conducted monitoring in 70% of the local government areas in all the states (except Kano state where monitoring was carried out in 18 LGAs) at varying times between May and December 2018 interacting with over two million Nigerians (beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries) of the three programmes.

“AAN also held quarterly feedback sessions with the National Social Investment Office (NSIO) on findings and suggested how to improve service delivery to the citizens.

“On the N-Power Programme, government officials at state levels heading the Places of Primary Assignments/sites generally, confirmed the added value that beneficiaries of the programmes brought to their schools, Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC), agricultural establishments, and offices.

“The monitoring exercise also confirmed that schools that were in critical need of teachers got beneficiaries to teach through the N-Power programme, and other non-teaching establishments also trained labour to add to their existing workforce.

“On GEEP there is need for system strengthening and public enlightenment for the programme to gain more ground with the citizens.”

 

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