ANEEJ calls for speedy passage of Bill to Institutionalise Social Investment Programmes …Urges Governors, State Assemblies to follow suit
BENIN CITY, NIGERIA. December 1, 2022… Against the backdrop of the National Bureau of Statistics revelation that 133 million Nigerians are living in poverty, theAfrica Network for Environment and Economic Justice ANEEJ, a Civil Society Organisation with a vision to eradicate poverty in Nigeria has called on the National Assembly to speedily consider the passage of the Social Investment Programme Agency Bill even as they want states governors and State Houses of Assembly to also take similar steps to halt the growing poverty in the country.
The group also called on the Senate to expeditiously consider the letter from President Muhammadu Buhari seeking for the legislation and Institutionalisation of the Social Investment Programme.
Executive Director of ANEEJ, Rev David Ugolor noted that Nigeria cannot afford to keep over 65 per cent of its population in grinding poverty, particularly those living in rural areas which constitutes 75 per cent of poor Nigerians according to figures from the NBS.
The Federal Government yesterday accused state Governments of not doing enough to address poverty, an accusation the state governments are yet to respond to as at time of this release. “We are worried about the growing level of poverty in the country despite efforts by various stakeholders to arrest the challenge. We know that the issue of insecurity and recent floods that ravaged many states and communities may have contributed to the spiraling poverty, but all hands must be on deck to pull as many people as possible out of poverty in Nigeria and this is not a time for blame game,” Ugolor stated.
The ANEEJ boss called on the National Assembly to do the needful of passing the SIP Bill for the institutionalization of the four Social Investment Programmes of the Federal Government, noting that if not done, a next administration may jettison the programmes with a fiat that could worsen the poor in Nigeria.
Ugolor equally challenged State Governors and State Houses of Assembly in the country to urgently institute policies, programmes for social protection of the poor in their states to complement efforts of the Federal Government, noting that the task of poverty eradication cannot be left with the Federal Government alone.
He commended the few states that have Social protection laws and urged others to follow suit by institutionalizing social safety nets for citizens of their states, particularly the rural dwellers, noting that Latin America and the Caribbean countries have successfully used social Investment programmes to lift millions their citizens out of poverty.
“On our part as ANEEJ, we are implementing the Enhancing Social Investment Programme in Nigeria, ESPPIN, project in five states: Edo, Delta, Ekiti, Anambra and Bayelsa. The project being supported by Bread for the World, Germany seeks to advocate for the institutionalization of Social Investment Programmes at the sub-national levels,” Ugolor stated and called on State Governors to include social investment programmes in their priority list.
ANEEJ and its CSOs partners are independently monitoring the disbursement of $322.5million returned Abacha loot II which is being disbursed by the Federal Government to the poor Nigerians under the Conditional Cash Transfer as part of the Social Investment Programme. ANEEJ Monitoring Transparency and Accountability of Returned Assets (MANTRA) report show that over 1 million poor Nigerian households benefited from the disbursement of N5,000 monthly from the repatriated Abacha loot since 2018.
It would be recalled that on November 18, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index, MPI, Report said that 133 million (63 per cent) of Nigerians were suffering from multi-dimensional poverty, with children constituting more than half of poor people in the country.
Pursuant to Section 8 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday transmitted a letter to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria seeking for the legislation and Institutionalization of the social Investment Programme Bill. The Bill seeks to provide a legal framework for the establishment of the National Social Investment Programme for the assistance and empowerment of the poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria as a response of his government.