The Socio Economic Research and Development Centre (SERDEC), has advised the Minister for Humanitarian, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouk, to ignore pressure from the National Assembly (NASS) to infiltrate the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) Register with their list of beneficiaries.
SERDEC is a civil society organization implementing the monitoring of recovered asset through transparency and accountability (MANTRA) Project.
The SERDEC Executive Director, Mr Tijani Abdulkareem, gave the advice in a press statement in Lokoja, Sunday.
Abdulkareem said the call was necessary because the comments made by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; and Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, over the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme’s credibility and integrity of selection process for its beneficiaries at a congress meeting recently held in Abuja with the minister.
Abdulkareem stated that the CCT programme was anchored on a global methodology for Community Based targeting of vulnerable households through indigenous community identification not by politicians selecting beneficiaries,
He stressed that NCTO and the World Bank had worked tirelessly to identify, filter and collect data on the poorest of the poor in communities into the national register, and updated as more households were being discovered across the country.
He expressed confidence in the program, noting that SERDEC had been monitoring the disbursement of cash to beneficiary households across the states.
”We have seen clear evidence of positive impacts from beneficiaries showing how this money is helping to pull many households out of poverty,” he said.
However, he agreed that essential reform was necessary for effective project service delivery, noting that the CCT program design was subjected to precise evaluation which measures its effectiveness for improvement.
”But this can be more strengthened when the National Assembly do the needful by Legislating the institutionalisation of the social investment programme in Nigeria.
”As people’s representatives in the hallow chambers, NASS members should have proved their effectiveness by having a constituency register for unemployment, poverty, infrastructure including development plan.
”This plan will guide impactful representation; rather over the years Nigerians cannot quantify the impact of the huge fund allocated as constituency funds to the NASS.
”The senate have always present list for everything in this country, from employment offer to juicy contract to be awarded to cronies, allies, party loyalist and associates creating unequal opportunities for Nigerians to compete, where has that left us as a nation?”, Abdulkareem queried.
He, therefore, urged NASS to do more of building accountability mechanism and reform around the way members were diverting funds meant for constituency project under their watch.
He enjoined the minister to remain focused in delivering social investment to the poorest of the poor in communities in commitment to ending poverty and achieving the sustainable development goals.