…as bill passes second reading
The Nigerian Senate has passed for a second reading, “a bill for an Act to amend the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) Agency Act 2023 and for other matters connected therewith”
The bill, sponsored by Bamidele Opeyemi, a senator representing Ekiti Central and Senate leader, seeks to transfer the NSIP agency from the ministry of humanitarian affairs back to the presidency under the direct supervision of President Bola Tinubu.
It would be recalled that social investment programmes, including N-Power, conditional cash transfer, and home-grown school feeding were created in 2016 and the agency was enacted in 2023 to address social inequalities and alleviate poverty by empowering the most vulnerable Nigerians. The programmes and the agency were put under the supervision of the minister of the humanitarian affairs ministry from the presidency.
During the first and second readings of the bill at Senate plenary on Tuesday, lawmakers lamented that the implementation of the programmes was flawed and had not made any impact on the lives of vulnerable Nigerians. They added that the process has not been transparent and the National Assembly was shut out in the implementation process.
Opeyemi said the amendment was in line with the renewed hope mantra of President Tinubu, and will ensure effectiveness, transparency, and accountability; saying the President desires to direct policies that will uplift the lives of vulnerable Nigerians.
Garba Madoki, senator representing Kebbi South, decried that those intended to benefit from the programmes have not benefitted. He alleged that the programmes were manipulated along party lines instead of benefitting vulnerable Nigerians.
Ahmed Lawan, a senator representing Yobe North, said the beneficiaries of the programmes have not been transparently captured. He said the Senate must be made to participate fully through relevant committees to ensure that the true beneficiaries are well captured.
While some lawmakers moved for the speedy passage of the bill, others urged that the process be gradual to enable lawmakers to analyse the bill and its impact.
Godswill Akpabio, the Senate president, said the bill would be subjected to serious scrutiny, especially the sections put up for amendment.