BY LEKE ADEGBITE
The Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in 2016 set up the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) in its quest to tackle poverty and hunger among vulnerable groups across the country.
Some of the programmes under the NSIP include; the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), The N-power programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) as well as The Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
As the nation celebrates its 22years of unbroken democracy, Correspondent, Leke Adegbite examines impacts of the social programmes on the vulnerable people in Ondo state in the last five years, even as government commences Batch-C of Npower programme.
The N-power programme is designed by the Federal Government to assist young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35, to acquire and develop life-long skills with a stipend of N35,000 monthly, while the Conditional Cash Transfer programme directly supports those within the lowest poverty bracket by improving nutrition, increasing household consumption and supporting the development of human capital through cash benefits to various categories of the poor and vulnerable.
Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme is a micro-lending intervention that targets traders, artisans, enterprising youths, farmers and women in particular, by providing loans to beneficiaries.
Another programme under the social investment programme is the home Grown School Feeding Programme which is aimed at delivering school feeding to children with a specific focus on increasing school enrollment and reducing malnutrition among children.
Five years after the introduction of the social investment programmes, thousands of youths and vulnerable adults from across the eighteen local government areas of Ondo State have benefited from the schemes.
Some of these beneficiaries of Npower programme who spoke with Radio Nigeria in Akure, commended President Buhari’s administration for introducing the scheme.
A public affairs commentator, Mr Adetona Aderoboye attested to the fact that the Npower scheme had gone a long way in reducing suffering of teeming unemployed graduates in Ondo state as it has benefited many youths in his community.
Mr Aderoboye who said the Npower had also boosted manpower in the health, education, agricultural and other sectors in Ondo state, described the shortlisting of 550,000 applicants for the Batch-C1 of the Npower package as unprecedented, expressing optimism that it would reduce youth restiveness nationwide.
The focal person for all Social Investment Programmes in Ondo State, Mrs Olubunmi Ademosu who is also the Special Adviser to the state governor on Public and Intergovernmental Relations, said over 108,700 pupils had been reached under the school feeding programme in Ondo state.
Ademosun noted that the school feeding programme had gone a long way in encouraging more parents to enrol their kids.
One of the coordinating Officials of the Programmes for the vulnerable in Ondo state, Mr Olaoluwa Bankole, also said Npower programme had really assisted the youths to earn a living.
He also enumerated positive impacts of other social investment programmes on the people of Ondo state especially during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown.
Mr Bankole encouraged the federal government to sustain major components of the National Social Investment Programmes in order to achieve the vision of President Buhari’s administration of reducing poverty and hunger among the vulnerable groups in Nigeria so that the gains of democracy can continue to reflect in their lives.
Bankole said, “The Npower initiative by the Npower is laudable and commendable because it helps in letting the impact of employment in our youths, at least the stop gap it provided for our youths, is something doing a lot to reduce tension amidst youth. I therefore, enjoined the Federal Government to maintain the program to the future until such time youths can have something permanent to do.
“We have been receiving support from the federal government in this regard. The sales cash transfer office mine beneficiary from our single register and the beneficiaries are enrolled for cash transfer, during the Covid-19 Pandemic last year.
“What the Federal Government is doing also is the survival fund which is also an initiative of the Federal Government, I can also say that in Ondo state here some of small scale enterprises.
“As a matter of fact, there are schools that have evidences that they are paying salaries to their workers, prior to Covid-19, under the survival fund, these people have equally been assisted by the Federal Government and all of these are put in place to ensure that no small scale, small and medium scale enterprises doesn’t collapse arising from the challenges of COVID-19,” Bankole said.