By Chijioke Okoronkwo
The Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Mrs Maryam Uwais, has called for increased funding of the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) in order to close existing gaps for better service delivery.
Uwais in a statement by Mr Justice Bibiye, Communications Manager, National Social Investment Office (NSIO), on Friday in Abuja, made the call when she led the management team of the National Social Investments Programme(N-SIP) on a familiarisation visit to the new Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr Clem Agba.
She called for an improvement in the working relationship between her office and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
The Presidential aide briefed the minister on the activities of the NSIO and the level of implementation of the various components of the SIPs of President Muhammadu Buhari Administration.
She said the social investment initiatives of the Federal Government had made a huge impact on the socio-economic wellbeing of millions of poor and vulnerable citizens.
“We really would need an increase in funding every month if we are to sustain these programmes.
“We also look forward to a continued and even more formidable collaboration between our office and your ministry so that we can do much more for our citizens, who had hitherto not been impacted by government.
“The President has given us a target to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years.
“This can definitely be achieved if we have the required funds to drive and sustain these programmes.”
Uwais said that with more funding, the NSIO, which coordinated the implementation of the four components of the N-SIP, would be able to reach out to more Nigerians in economic and social crises.
She listed the four components as the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme(NHGSFP), N-power, National Cash Transfer Programme( NCTP) and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
Uwais told the minister that nearly 10 million pupils in 32 states across Nigeria were currently benefiting from the NHGSFP.
She added that close to 400,000 poor and vulnerable households in 25 states, including the Borno IDP camps ,are enrolled in the NCTP.
She said that, is in addition, over two million people had benefited from interest-free loans through Marketmoni, Tradermoni and Farmermoni facilitated under GEEP.
Uwais said the N-Power Programme which had profitably engaged over 540,000 young people in all 774 local government areas of the country had become a veritable platform for the youth to explore their potential.
“We are doing very well with the N-power Innovation hubs which have been quite successful.
“With one innovation hub in every geopolitical zone in the country, young people who have brilliant ideas can now effectively engage.
“Each hub has its own theme that is relevant to the peculiarities of the zone it is situated; for instance, the North East is more about humanitarian issues just as the South-South hub focuses on oil and gas, education, security among other areas.
“The good news is that we have seen our young people leverage on this platform to create apps and other devices that provide solutions to everyday problems.
“We are encouraged by these success stories as we remain determined and focus in achieving greater results through the SIPs to actualise the vision of the president,” she said.
On his part, Agba thanked the visiting delegation for a job well done in the execution of the SIPs, assuring the implementation team of more support from his ministry.
He said it was the desire of the Federal Government to adequately fund its projects to achieve set targets.
The Minister called for data integration for proper planning and execution of government programmes and projects.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN)reports cluster heads and staff from each of the programmes were represented as part of the NSIO team that visited the minister.
Top management staffers of the ministry led by the permanent secretary were also present at the meeting.(NAN)