From Audu Joe, Lokoja
Prince Abdulkareem Suleiman Onyekehi, the Focal Person of National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) Kogi State, said the Federal Government had injected over N17 billion into the state’s economy through the programme since its inception in 2016.
Onyekehi told our Correspondent at the weekend in Lokoja, that the NSIP has four components which include: N-POWER, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), Conditional Cash Transfer Programme (CCT), and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), being implemented in Kogi State.
Onyekehi, who doubles as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Projects, said that over 43, 000 petty traders have benefited from the GEEP, over 34,000 beneficiaries of CCT, over 12,000 for NPower and about 85, 000 pupils for HGSFP, have benefited in the State through the programme.
According to him, approximately N297 million has been injected through HGSFP, N800 million through GEEP, N5 billion through CCT, and N12 billion through NPower into Kogi economy via the programme.
”The Federal Government of Nigeria established the NSIP in 2016, to tackle poverty and hunger across the country.
”The suite of programme under the NSIP focuses on ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable populations, including children, youth and women.
”Kogi State keyed into the programme in partnership and have developed enormous capacity for the implementation across all the components.
”The Kogi State Government secured a befitting office complex for NSIP, funding sensitization and implementation logistics as well as payment of SIP staff salaries”, he said.
He said that the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) was aimed to deliver school feeding to public primary school pupils with a specific focus on increasing school enrolment and reducing malnutrition.
He added that the HGSFP was also designed to empowering community women as cooks and by supporting farmers that help stimulate economic growth.
The focal person explained that the HGSFP had been on pilot stage in Kogi, had engaged about 1,400 caterers to feed the current number of over 85,000 pupils.
He added that additional caterers were being recruited in order to capture more public primary schools to accommodate more pupils who were yet to benefit from the scheme.
He said that the HGSFP commenced in Kogi State in February 18, 2019 up to January 16, 2020, and was in progress before the outbreak of COVID 19 pandemic, which made the programme to be put on hold till date.
”Currently, we have captured 177, 640 pupils to be fed by 2,937 cooks.
”Concerted efforts are in high gear to capture all public primary schools in Kogi State with a total of over 258,000 pupils as recently validated by the National Bureau of Statistics.
”However, newly modified COVID-19 tagged Take Home Rations (THRs) which was anxiously expected to have commenced, having carried out adequate sensitization and high level of preparedness is yet to commence in Kogi State”, Onyekehi said.
He added that the current food menu for the HGSFP given to the pupils were: rice, beans, pasta, egg, bread, beef, moimoi and pap.
”The GEEP is a micro-lending intervention that targets traders, artisans, enterprising youth, farmers and women in particular, by providing loans between N10,000, N50,000, N100,000 and N300,000 at zero interest cost to beneficiaries.
”In Kogi State, over 50,000 SMEs have benefited from the GEEP, such as Trader-moni, N10,000; and Market-Moni between N50,000 -100,000 at zero interest loan.
He said that a total sum of about N800 million had so far been disbursed to 50,441 beneficiaries of both Trader-moni and Market-moni in Kogi State.
He explained that a total sum of N434.4 million had been disbursed to 43,443 beneficiaries under Trader-moni, while N365.2 million disbursed to 6,998 beneficiaries under Market-moni in Kogi State.
He, however noted that the newly introduced Farmer-Moni of N300,000 with zero interest loan by the federal government was yet to commence in the state.
Speaking on the N-Power, Onyekehi said that the programme was designed to assist young unemployed Nigerian graduates and non graduates to acquire and develop life-long skills to become change makers in their communities.
According to him, with a stipend of N30,000 monthly, a total of 12,964 youths of Batch A and B from December 2016 to June 2020, have so far benefited from the scheme in Kogi, amounting to about N11.6 billion.
On the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), he said that the programme directly support those within the lowest poverty bracket by improving nutrition, increasing household consumption and human capital development through cash benefits to various categories of the poor and vulnerable.
”The CCT otherwise known as Household Uplifting Programme (HUP) is designed to deliver timely and accessible cash transfers to poor and vulnerable citizens.
”It supports poor and vulnerable households with N5,000 monthly stipend to cushion their consumption levels with the overall objective of reducing poverty, prevent the vulnerable from falling into poverty lines and building their resilience to withstand shocks.
”Presently, Kogi State has a total of over 72,000 on the next phase of payment schedule and 12,091 with on-going enrolment while awaiting 49,000 new data.
”The current number of beneficiaries is 34,000, with monetary value of approximately N5 billion injected into the economy of Kogi from CCT alone”, Onyekehi said.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the initiative in providing jobs and lifting the poorest and vulnerable citizens out of poverty, assuring the commitment of His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello to the full implementation of all FG programmes in the state.
Onyekehi further commended the governor for being a strong advocate of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration owing to the maximum support he has given to the program for effective implementations.
”The Governor secured the NSIP office complex, pay NSIP staff salaries, funds all the implementations logistics and other running cost of the NSIP office.
”Without the support of the Governor, it would have been difficult for NSIP to record these achievements so far in Kogi State.
Onyekehi appealed to the federal government for more logistics for the office of the Focal Person of Kogi NSIP for more effective implementations and program for result.