The House of Representatives has moved to provide a legislative framework for all social welfare schemes of the government.

The bill, sponsored by Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila and 11 others, seeks to establish the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) for the poor and the vulnerable.

Leading the debate on behalf of the co-sponsors, Mansur Soro (APC, Bauchi) said the bill seeks to establish the National Social Investment Programmes Coordination Office within the federal ministry responsible for social development.

According to the lawmaker, the bill, if passed into law, will establish the National Social Investments Trust Fund.

He noted that current social welfare schemes such as the N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer, Home-Grown School Feeding Market Moni, Trader-Moni have no legislative framework to ensure proper implementation.

Mr Soro said lack of legislative framework for the social welfare programmes is affecting “their purpose of establishment, capacity to deliver their mandate within time and inability to impact on transforming the lives of the teeming expected beneficiaries.”

The lawmaker explained that the trust fund will have a governing board and management team, to administer and coordinate the implementation of the social investment programme.

Background

The SIPs are part of the programmes of the Buhari administration to reduce poverty, create employment, and increase school enrolment.

The programmes were initially under the office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. However, they were moved to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

The implementation of the programmes has also caused conflict between the members of the National Assembly and the Executive.

In August 2020, the Committee on Public Account of the House summoned the former minister, Kemi Adeosun, and her successor, Zainab Ahmed, over N1.7trillion appropriated to the NSIP since inception till 2020.

In April 2020, Maryam Uwais, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, also had a row with the lawmakers over the management of the programme.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, have also criticised the implementation of the NSIP.

Also, in 2019, the First Lady, Aisha Buhari joined in criticising the scheme. She said the scheme failed to justify the money appropriated for the programmes.

On Tuesday, the bill was adopted without a debate and referred to the House committee on emergency and disaster preparedness

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