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 FG’s Social Investment Initiative

Social Investment Programme
Posted: Sep 23, 2016 at 3:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Following the current economic recession and its resultant hash condition on Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable, the recent announcement by Federal government that it would soon commence a N60 billion social investment programme to bolster the economic situation of some targeted Nigerians is certainly a welcome development.

The minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who revealed this recently in Abuja while announcing government’s plan of injecting N350 billion next week into the economy bringing the amount expended on capital projects so far to N750 billion to reflate the economy, also stated that it would commence the implementation of the recruitment of the 500,000 teachers as well as the payment of N5000 to vulnerable citizens.

Although available data from the Nigeria Economic Report (NER) by the World Bank derived from a household survey in 2010/2011 and 2012/2013 to reassess poverty and living standard in Nigeria showed that a significant improvement in poverty reduction had been recorded within the period under review, the report revealed that there was a wide spectrum of the Nigerian population still not above the poverty line, indicating vulnerability.

In the build up to the current economic recession in the country, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reportedly stated that about 18, 919 jobs were lost in the public sector between October 2015 and March 2016 alone. Moreover, with the economy formally in recession with its attendant headline inflation put at 17.1% and rising unemployment and job losses, analysts say that the unemployment and poverty rates have worsened. Unfortunately, this could dip further if nothing is done by way of social intervention policies, especially if the potential impacts of several anti-poverty and employment generation intervention programmes are not factored in that could douse the economic tension in the short term.

This is why we applaud the federal government’s decision to set aside N60 billion for social intervention drive that it said would commence next month, even as it pursues other long term ways of getting the economy out of the woods. For sure, it is a global phenomenon for government to offer palliatives to the citizens during such economic quagmire.

In fact, it is instructive to note that poverty alleviation strategies have, over the years and with past administrations, become important policy options to curb increasing rate of poverty in the country. Poverty alleviation strategies ranging from Operation Feed the Nation of 1978, the Green Revolution of 1982, the Directorate of Foods Roads and Rural Infrastructures DFFRI, the National Directorate for Employment (NDE) Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP), up to the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), and the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan’s YOUWIN and SUREP programmes, were all attempts made by various governments in the country to reduce the menace. The truth is that these programmes recorded tremendous positive results not without challenges though. However, there is the problem of sustainability and policy summersault which had limited their progress.

This is why we urge that under the present economic situation, the proposed initiative can only record desirable impact if it is implemented properly such that the money gets to the right people without being diverted to private pockets. The truth is that the present economic situation calls for due diligence in the way such initiatives are prosecuted if the expected impact is to be achieved. It must be implemented and vigorously pursued devoid of any form of political considerations.

Beyond this, we must emphasise that in pursuing this laudable initiative, government must be guarded by the fact that there is nowhere in the world where citizens have prospered by receiving handout from government. Alleviating poverty must be driven by empowering the vulnerable to be productive so as to facelift their economic lives on a more sustainable basis.