The Nigerian government says it has spent N250 billion on its Social Investment Programme (N-SIPS) since the beginning of the scheme in 2016.

This claim was made on Thursday at a media roundtable by the presidential aide on N-SIPS, Mariam Uwais, in Abuja.

N-SIPS was set up by the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration to improve the living conditions of millions of Nigerians across the country.

According to Mrs Uwais, N500 billion was requested by the Social Investment Programmes Office for its four component programmes in 2016, 2017 and 2018 budgets.

However, only N250 billion has so far been released, she said.

The programmes include N-Power, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), National Cash Transfer Project (NCTP), and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).

Mrs Uwais said over 9,300,892 children in 49,837 government schools in 26 states are being fed under the School Feeding Programme. She said this requires 6.8 million eggs, 594 cattle and 83 metric tons of fish to be supplied to cooks every week.

”We have also engaged 96,972 cooks with over a 100,000 small-scale farmers being part of the value chain, supplying locally sourced ingredients. It is noteworthy that currently, public schools require 6.8 milion eggs, 594 cattle and 83 metric tons of fish to be supplied to the cooks, every week.

”The Home Grown School Feeding Programme is a programme that is aimed at feeding young children in our public primary schools, with the aim of improving their nutrition, increasing school enrollment and reducing the incidence of malnutrition.

”So far, we are feeding over 9,300,892 children in 49,837 government schools in 26 States. Being a programme that also aims at empowering communities, we have also engaged 96,972 cooks with over a 100,000 small-scale farmers being part of the value chain, supplying locally sourced ingredients.

‘”These statistics do not take into account the boost that is evident in the production and supply of rice, wheat, soya bean, orange-flesh potatoes, fruit and vegetable by farmers, to mention a few,” Mrs Uwais said.

She furthered said the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme is giving out N5,000 monthly to 297,973 households in Nigeria and is being implemented in 20 states, adding that they have trained 3,000 community cash transfer facilitators in every ward where the programme is ongoing.

”This programme is giving out 5,000 Naira monthly to 297,973 households in Nigeria. It is currently being implemented in 20 States.

”We have trained almost 3,000 community cash transfer facilitators in every ward where the programme is ongoing, to build the capacities of our beneficiaries and support them to become productive and take ownership of their lives.

”The methodology of selecting our beneficiaries is deliberate, tried and tested to assure of credibility, as well as aimed at enabling the capturing of biometric data for financial and social inclusion.

”Beneficiary households are selected by the communities directly, with their household and community data being uploaded onto Social Registers by trained enumerators at State and LGA levels, as a means of ensuring that we continue to keep a keen eye on their progress, towards weaning them out of poverty.”

She said that the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) which comprises the MarketMoni, FarmerMoni and the TraderMoni have spent N27.4 Billion in interest-free loans reaching over 1.1 million beneficiaries across the 36 states of the Federation, with N27.4 billion in interest-free loans

”The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) comprises the MarketMoni, FarmerMoni and the TraderMoni. We are making available to micro-businesses credit facilities to improve their businesses through this scheme. It is managed by the Bank of Industry, who have the wherewithal to recover loans.

”We have so far reached over 1.1 Million Beneficiaries across the 36 States of the Federation, with N27.4 Billion in interest-free loans, ranging from N10,000 Naira to N350,000 Naira disbursed so far. In particular, the aim of the Trader Moni programme is to take financial inclusion to the grassroots, considering the daily contributions of millions of petty traders to our economic prosperity and development.

”Indeed, especially because this category of citizens has hitherto had no access to credit to support their businesses, this is a deliberate effort at assuring of financial credit and a sense of belonging as an entitlement of these citizens, who are also Nigerians deserving of support. She said.

According to Mrs Uwais, the N-power scheme has employed 500,000 youth graduates which are paid a monthly stipend of N30,000

“N-Power is currently employing 500,000 youth graduates. It is the largest post-tertiary employment programme in Africa, where beneficiaries are paid a monthly stipend of N30,000 and deployed as volunteers into various sectors of need in the public space, such as health, agriculture, education and public finance.

”They are given devices to facilitate their service delivery, and as a continuous learning avenue. We have also supported 20,000 N-Power non-graduate volunteers, who have been trained in skill centres in every State, and given tool boxes to enable them to apply their newly-acquired expertise in the building and automotive industries.

”Both schemes have assured of volunteers in all the Local Government Areas of the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT.

Mrs Uwais noted that government was having challenges of some beneficiaries not getting the stipends because they did not enter their correct details.

She also said government learnt some people who posed as Social Investment Programme staff threatened to remove beneficiaries out of the system just to extort money from them.

She, however, asserted nobody can remove anyone from the system who has been registered in it.