The Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Maryam Uwais says that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has been paying N5,000 monthly to poor Nigerians through the National Cash Transfer initiative.
Mrs Uwais, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja over the weekend, revealed that 620,947 poor and vulnerable Nigerians have benefited from the scheme.
She, however, debunked media reports claiming that 6.6 million people were being paid the N5,000 monthly stipend. She added:
“Although 1,491,296 households, comprising 6,056,872 individuals have been captured on the National Social Register, only 620,947 of them are currently receiving the monthly payments and are being supported by trained community facilitators.
The National Cash Transfer initiative is part of the FG’s National Social Investment Programme.
She also clarified reports making rounds that the Federal Government made a budgetary provision of N30 billion for 2020, as against the usual 500 billion benchmark for the N-SIP since 2016.
“Nothing has changed in the budgeting cycle as relates to the Social Investment Programmes (SIP).
“The SIP budget has always been pegged at N400 billion, while another N100 billion has been domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance, as counterpart of the Social Housing Fund,” she explained.
Uwais expressed hope that shortfalls in budgetary releases in the last three years would be a thing of the past.
“In 2016, we got 16 per cent of our budget; we got 36 per cent in 2017, and 53 per cent in 2018.
“But, in spite of the shortfalls in budgetary releases, the National Social Investment Programme has been very successful.
“It has impacted on 13 million people across the country, with 44 million as secondary beneficiaries comprising families, agents, farmers and others in the value chain,” she said.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has lamented the high rate of inequality in Nigeria, saying a large proportion of the country’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of few wealthy Nigerians based in only five states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).