Buhari’s Welfare Scheme To Continue Beyond 2016 – Akande

The social welfare intervention programme by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will not end this year, Laolu Akande, the vice presidential spokesman has said. N500 billion has been allocated in the 2016 budget for the programme.

According to him, the scheme “is a combination of several well-thought out programmes emphasising direct connections with the extremely poor, and the needy among other categories of the masses of this country.”

A breakdown of the welfare programme is contained in the 2016-2017 and 2018 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (PSP) submitted to the Senate for consideration and approval. The document showed that the government provided N300 billion for 2016, N339.05 for 2017, and N338.93 for 2018. The scheme includes programmes such as School feeding programme initiative, conditional cash transfer to the most vulnerable and post-National Youth Service Corps grant.

“One of the major differences here is that the social intervention programme such as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) would be a direct transfer of N5,000 monthly to the extremely poor among us.

“And this is a safety net that several advanced nations had put in place a long time in their history, and most often at times of economic challenges,” Akande said.

“This way, we are expanding school enrolment and also assuring physical well-being.The home-grown school feeding programme will commence in public primary schools in 2016, providing adequate nutrition to school children, promoting local farming, boosting agriculture, and creating jobs and wealth locally.

“We have experts working in the presidency, collaborating with experts from global bodies who together bring to bear international best practices working on how best to implement these programmes.

“I can tell you that no sooner than President Buhari resumed work, many of these experts have been meeting and planning on how best to implement these plans. We are not talking here of something hurriedly put together or a programme where some consultants would take the huge chunk of the resources.”

“There is another 500,000 non-graduate unemployed people who will be trained as artisans, making a total creation of about one million direct jobs,” adding that the presidency was determined not to repeat the past failed efforts at alleviating poverty.

“As the President disclosed during the budget speech, he has asked the vice president to coordinate the programmes and I can tell you that serious work is already apace,” Akande added.

“There will also be the provision of affordable, very low cost loans to market women and artisans to enable them enlarge and expand their trades,” he added.