Northern Nigerian Breaking News

1-Year-in-Office: FG to resume N-Power, conditional cash transfer program, others

The Federal Government on Tuesday said it had reinstated the suspended social investment programme, disclosing the scheme would provide direct payments to 75 million Nigerians in 50 million households to reduce the suffering of citizens, especially vulnerable groups.

It stated that the cash transfer program was overhauled to tackle fraud.

The Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, announced this at the ministerial sectoral briefing to mark the first year in office of the President Bola Tinubu administration in Abuja.

On January 12,  Tinubu suspended all the programs administered by the National Social Investment Programme Agency for six weeks, as part of a probe of alleged malfeasance in the management of the agency and the scheme.

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The president also suspended Betta Edu as the minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation on January 8. Edu’s ministry supervises the operations of the NSIPA.

The intervention programs affected include the N-Power, the conditional cash transfer scheme, the government enterprise and empowerment programme, and the home-grown school feeding initiative.

On March 13, the House of Representatives asked the federal government to resume the implementation of the suspended social investment initiatives.

To revamp the program, Tinubu approved the establishment of a Special Presidential Panel, led by Edun to carry out an intensive review and audit of the existing financial frameworks and policy guidelines of the social investment programs.

Giving an update on the steps taken by the committee at the briefing, the finance minister stated that the government had decided to restart the program to provide succour for poor Nigerians.

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Edun said, “I am duty-bound to give you an overview of the strategy, policies, and implementation of Mr President’s reform program. Immediately upon assuming office, Mr President launched macroeconomic reforms to restore stability to the Nigerian economy, including subsidy reforms and foreign exchange market reforms. These reforms caused a spike in costs for individuals and businesses, but Mr President is committed to counterbalancing the negative effects with interventions across the social spectrum.

“The government has restarted the social investment program, providing direct payments to 75 million Nigerians in 50 million households. Access to credit has been improved, with N1bn allocated to consumer credit and grants of 50,000 Naira being given to 1 million nano industries.”

Speaking further, the minister stated that the federal government had initiated direct payments to contractors, suppliers, and vendors engaged by the government, evidently aiming to curb corruption in business dealings.

He explained that this measure would guarantee the prudent and accountable expenditure of the nation’s wealth.

Edun also revealed that the government was set to roll out an Economic Emergency Plan that would be implemented in the next six months. The plan, he explained, would help stabilise the economy and set the country on the path of growth.

He explained, “A system of payment has been implemented to ensure that Nigeria’s money is spent wisely and accountably. The government has played a role in helping states in attracting cheap funding and processing projects at the community level. Nigeria’s international credit rating has improved, with Moody’s and Fitch increasing and improving Nigeria’s rates to positive.

“The government is committed to counterbalancing the negative effects of economic reforms with interventions across the social spectrum. Infrastructure is key to growing the economy, building employment, and creating multiplier effects throughout the economy. A fund has been set up to provide institutional long-term funds to support housing construction and low-interest mortgages for the average Nigerian and we are working to attract cheap funding for states and process projects at the community level.”

He added, “And as it was mentioned earlier, the pivot thing to CNG is a government policy not just for vehicles but for generators. They have to be either CNG-fueled or solar-based or electric vehicles.

“That is the new incentive structure. And it continues also in the oil and gas sector. There has just been a new set of incentives that are encouraging new investments. We expect $7bn worth of investment that has been sitting on the sideline to now come; similarly, in other sectors.

“A stable, growing economy attracts investment that increases productivity, grows the economy further, creates jobs and reduces poverty. That is the trajectory that Nigeria is now on.”

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