THE House of Representatives, on Tuesday, queried the Federal Government over the delay in the implementation of the N500 billion allocated to combat poverty in the country, as approved in the 2016 budget.
The House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, during an interactive session with members of the Federal Government team, in Abuja, on Tuesday, raised the alarm that the N500 billion allocated for poverty alleviation in the last eight month had remained idle, despite the ravaging poverty in the country.
Speaking during the interactive session organised by the House Joint Committee on Legislative Budget and Research and Poverty Alleviation, chairman House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, Honourable Golu Timothy, pointed out that “a budget of N500 billion being coordinated basically through one office is very huge.”
According to the lawmaker, “transparency is key and we at the House of Representatives want to ensure that the office is competent enough to coordinate such a huge amount of funds without being overwhelmed by the job.”
He reminded the government team led by Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Mrs Maryam Uwais, that “the 2016 budget passed by the National Assembly and assented to by Mr President has N300 billion as recurrent expenditure under conditional cash transfers, home grown school feeding programme, post-NYSC entrepreneur development programme and micro credit loans.
Also speaking, the co-chairman of the joint committee, Honourable Mohammed Wudil, insisted that the huge amount of money allocated to the office needed to be justified, particularly now that poverty “has gone so high in the country.”
In her presentation, Uwais said hopefully the five pronged poverty programme would commence by September.
She explained the programme was strategically hosted within the office of the Vice-President in order to ensure effective monitoring and evaluation.
According to her, “so far, nine states have opened a social register and 10 states have started the home grown feeding programme for school pupils across the country,” adding that “what we proposed was N70 per meal but some states were able to perform the feat with N40 per meal.”