Social Investment Programme: NASS Got It Wrong – Maryam Uwais
The Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment Programme, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, has faulted the leadership of the National Assembly over its claims about the conditional cash transfer scheme of the Federal Government.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila had on Tuesday faulted the implementation of the Social Investement Programme (SIP) as the lockdown over coronavirus continues in the country.
Lawan and Gbajabiamila in a meeting with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq in Abuja, called for an overhaul of the programme.
In a statement on Wednesday, however, Mrs. Uwais described some of the assertions made by the leaders of the National Assembly as untrue.
According to her, the claim that the National Social Investment Programme has taken more than N2 trillion since its inception was false.
“Although the total appropriation by the National Assembly (NASS) from inception, for the 4 NSIPs, is N1.7 trillion, the actual funds released for the NSIPs between January 2016 and October 2019 (when the NSIPs were handed over to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development), amounted to N619.1 billion, constituting 36.4% of the total appropriation from the NASS,” she explained.
Also, she said that beneficiaries of the scheme do not need to apply online with their Bank Verification Number (BVN) for payment as both lawmakers insinuated.
She said: “That as part of the conditions for poor and vulnerable beneficiaries to be engaged, they are made to apply online, through the internet and they require a BVN for payment. UNTRUE.”
Mrs. Uwais added: “The utilization of the BVN for N-Power beneficiary payment is also as a means of identity (since the NIN number can be generated from the BVN) and to facilitate the tracking of payments and further ensure accountability.”
On the identity of the beneficiaries not made public, she explained that the law (the FOI Act) does not permit her office to release the names of the beneficiaries.
However, she said they can “be found and verified through the LGA community facilitators (CTFs) who have been trained to support them by weekly visits to the wards.
“The names, wards, LGAs, States and phone numbers of the CTFs can be found here, as the data collation continues to grow around the country.”
Similarly, she noted that the “monthly reports of 3,000 N-Power monitors, spread across the 774 LGAs, are available to both Poverty Alleviation Committees of the NASS.”