The House of Representatives yesterday sent a query to the Federal Government over the delayed implementation of the N500bn set aside to combat poverty in the country as approved in the 2016 budget.noting that despite the ravaging poverty in the country, the amount allocated for poverty alleviation in the last eight month had remained idle. The Federal government responded swiftly through the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Mrs Maryam Uwais.
The house of reps noted that despite the ravaging poverty in the country, the amount allocated for poverty alleviation in the last eight month had remained idle. The Federal government responded swiftly through the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Mrs Maryam Uwais.
This alarm was raised on Tuesday by the House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research during an interactive session with members of the Federal Government team, in Abuja, organised by the House Joint Committee on Legislative Budget and Research and Poverty Alleviation.
Speaking at the session, the Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, Hon. Golu Timothy stated that “a budget of N500 billion being coordinated basically through one office is very huge,” adding that: “transparency is key and we at the House of Representatives want to ensure that the office is competent enough to coordinate such a huge amount of funds without being overwhelmed by the job.”
He reminded the federal government team led by the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Mrs Maryam Uwais, that “the 2016 budget passed by the National Assembly and assented to by Mr President has N500 billion as recurrent expenditure under conditional cash transfers, home grown school feeding programme, post-NYSC entrepreneur development programme and micro-credit loans”.
On his part, the co-Chairman of the joint committee, Hon. Mohammed Wudil, insisted that the huge amount of money allocated to the office needed to be justified, particularly now that poverty “has gone so high in the country.”
In her response, Uwais who represented the Federal government expressed optimism that the five-pronged poverty programme would commence by September, explaining that the programme was strategically hosted within the office of the Vice-President in order to ensure effective monitoring and evaluation.
She said, “so far, nine states have opened a social register and 10 states have started the homegrown feeding programme for school pupils across the country,” adding that “what we proposed was N70 per meal but some states were able to perform the feat with N40 per meal.”