COVID-19: Lockdown National Assembly Bemoans FG’s Implementation Of SIP On Poor Nigerians
The leadership of the National Assembly has bemoaned system adopted by the Federal Government to cushion the effects of the lock down as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
’The Senate President, Ahmad Lawn and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila said FG s Social Investment Programmes and how they are being implemented , noting that the conditions set by officials most times excluded poor Nigerians for which the initiative is intended.
the leaders of the legislature made this known on Tuesday when they met with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs , Disaster Management and Social Development , Sadiya Farouq , and other top officials of the ministry.
The meeting between the leadership of the National Assembly and the ministry was to review the Federal Government ’s palliatives to Nigerians , especially as they concerned the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Law and said the Social Investment Programme, which was established by the Presidency in 2016, needed reform to make it more effective.
“We feel that we need to work together with you to ensure that there is effectiveness and efficiency so that those who are supposed to benefit , benefit directly . When, for example , some conditions are set , that those who will benefit will have to go online , through the internet or must have Bank Verification Number and the rest of it.
“I want to tell you that the majority of those who are supposed to benefit have no access to power . They have no access to Internet . They have no bank account , so no BVN . In fact, many of them don ’t even have phones and these are the poorest of the poor . Yet , some of the conditions or guidelines which you set inadvertently leave them out .”
“We believe that when we work together ; the Executive side of government and the National Assembly as representatives of the people , we will be able to reach many more of these people who are in serious distress even before the coronavirus outbreak .
“Now with coronavirus , they need our attention more than ever before. The time has come that we review the ways and manner we use to deliver the services under the SIP to Nigerians .
“So , we need to put on our thinking cap and work out some strategies on how to identify the poorest persons in Nigeria . I think we have not been able to reach far out there to get them properly captured ,” the Senate President added.
On his part , Gbajabiamila told the minister that she was in the eye of the storm as all eyes were on her to deliver the Federal Government ’s palliatives .
He said , “Your job right now is probably the most important as we speak , because you are saddled with the responsibility of alleviating poverty or the hardship, due to no fault of anyone , being thrust upon Nigerians.
“The questions are going to be asked ; how do you come about your lists ? How comprehensive is your distribution list? What are the parameters ? What is the geographical spread ? So these are tough questions that are going to be asked but I want you to look at them as frank questions that we need to ask .”
“I am very pleased to hear that we are going to work together to see that we give a legal backing to this programme because that is the only way to go,” she noted .