The Senate, Tuesday, embarked on amendment of National Social Investment Programme Agency Act (NSIPA), 2023 aimed at moving the agency from Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to the Presidency.
The Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele initiated the bill at the plenary yesterday, seeking to amend the National Social Investment Programme Agency Act, 2023.
Specifically, according to Bamidele, the bill seeks to amend Sections 9(3), 14(1), 21(1), 22(1), 26(1) and 33 of the NSIPA Act, 2023 by transferring the agency from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to the Presidency.
The senate leader added that the bill “will now directly under the direct supervision of the President.”
He further explained its significance to poverty alleviation and social inclusion, saying the plan to amend NSIPA Act, 2023 “is to ensure that the social investment programme are standard, transparent, effective and accountable.”
He explained that the amendment “is a result of the commitment of the Renewed Hope mantra of President Bola Tinubu in ensuring that social investment programme are standard, transparent, effective and accountable structure of delivery, adequate coordination and synergy among key government agencies.”
The senate leader noted that the amendment “is in fulfilment of section 17(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.”
Under the section, the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that all citizens, without discrimination on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment, among others.
Bamidele explained that with this amendment a wide range of sustainable development goals (SDGs) including poverty reduction, education, health, social inclusion and empowerment could be achieved through the NSIPA
Also, at the plenary, former President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan pointed out that the 9th senate passed the bill, though its implementation was flawed because those who should be given support are those in rural areas difficult to reach.
Lawan, currently representing Yobe North, said: “In achieving social inclusion, funds were distributed, and the beneficiaries have no bank accounts. After passing this, it is time we must participate fully to ensure the capturing of the beneficiaries that need the support in such a way the National Assembly is satisfied.”
He further explained that the National Assembly “should be to be part of the process, but that was not done. The support was sent to each state of the federation. All senators were onlookers, which is unacceptable.”
While contributing to the debate, Senator Seriake Dickson urged the lawmakers to use the opportunity to look at other issues raised during its implementation under the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dickson, currently representing Bayelsa, explained that the amendment should include the mode of selecting the beneficiaries of the programme.
He said the previous government had initiatives like TraderMoni and COVID palliatives without parliamentary approval and that recommendations should be made at the committee level.
After the deliberation, the senate president expeditiously referred the bill to the committee of the whole for consideration on Wednesday to allow distinguished senators go through the bill clause by clause.
While NSIPA Act was enacted May 2023 to address socio-economic inequalities and alleviate poverty among Nigerians, NSIP was created in 2016 under the administration of former President Muhammadu.
The programme was founded on four pillars namely N-POWER Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme and the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme.
Each of the pillars was designed to empower the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians to attain an acceptable standard of living irrespective of their locations nationwide.
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