The Nigerian Senate has passed for a second reading, “a bill for an Act to amend the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) Agency Act 2023 and for other matters connected therewith”.
The bill, which was sponsored by Bamidele Opeyemi, senator representing the Ekiti central and Senate leader is seeking the transfer of the NSIP agency from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs back to the Presidency under the direct supervision of President Bola Tinubu.
Social investment programs including N-power, conditional cash transfer, and homegrown school feeding were created in 2016 and the agency was enacted in 2023 to address social inequalities and alleviate poverty by empowering the most vulnerable Nigerians. The programmes and the agency were put under supervision of the minister of the Humanitarian Ministry from the presidency.
During the first and second readings of the bill at the senate plenary on Tuesday, lawmakers lamented that the implementation of the programs was flawed and had not made any impact on the lives of vulnerable Nigerians. They added that the process has not been transparent and the National Assembly was shut out in the implementation process.
Opeyemi said the amendment is in line with the renewed hope mantra of President Tinubu, and will ensure effectiveness, transparency, and accountability; saying the President desires to direct policies that will uplift the lives of vulnerable Nigerians.
Garba Madoki, senator representing Kebbi South decried that those intended to benefit from the programs have not benefitted. He alleged that the programs were manipulated along party lines instead of benefitting vulnerable Nigerians.
Ahmed Lawan, Senator representing Yobe North said the beneficiaries of the programmers have not been transparently captured. He said the Senate must be made to participate fully through relevant committees to ensure that the true beneficiaries are well captured.
While some Lawmakers moved for the speedy passage of the bill, others urged that the process be gradual to enable lawmakers to analyze the bill and its impact.
Senate President Godswill Alpabio said the bill will be subject to serious scrutiny especially the sections put up for amendment.