The leadership of the National Assembly has faulted the way the Social Investment Programme of the Nigerian Government was being implemented and called for an enabling legislation in line with global best practices.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, made their reservations about the scheme at a meeting on Tuesday with Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, and top officials of the ministry.
Lawan and Gbajabiamila made it clear that the Social Investment Programme established in 2016 under the Presidency but which is now under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, needed a reform to make it more efficient and effective.
In his opening remarks, Lawan said the National Assembly was interested in the current Intervention initiatives of the ministry particularly with respect to the disbursement aimed at assuaging the plight of poor Nigerians against COVID-19.
He said, “We feel that we need to work together with you to ensure that there is effectiveness, there is efficiency, that those who are supposed to benefit, benefit directly.
“I want to tell you that the majority of those who are supposed to benefit have no access to power. They have no access to Internet. They have no bank account, so no BVN.
“In fact, many of them don’t even have phones and these are the poorest of the poor. Yet, some of the conditions or guidelines which you set inadvertently leave them out.
“We believe that when we work together, the executive side of government and the National Assembly as representatives of the people, we will be able to reach more of these people who are in serious distress even before Coronavirus.”
Adding his voice to the issue, Gbajabiamila urged the minister to talk with the relevant committees and the National Assembly leadership on the best way to codify the scheme.