By Stephen Adeleye
The National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) Kogi says the Federal Government has injected over N17 billion into the state’s economy through the programme since its inception in 2016.
Mr Abdulkareem Onyekehi, the Focal Person of N-SIP in the state, state this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lokaja.
He said that the programme has four components: 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 the State.
Onyekehi, who doubles as the Special Adviser to the Gov. Yahaya Bello, on Special Projects, said that over 43,000 petty traders have benefited from GEEP scheme; 34,000 beneficiaries of CCT, 12,000 youths for N-Power and about 85, 000 pupils for HGSFP benefited from the NSIP.
He said that approximately N297 million has been injected into the economy through the HGSFP, N800 million through GEEP, N5 billion through CCT and N12 billion through N-Power.
”The Federal Government of Nigeria established the N-SIP in 2016, to tackle poverty and hunger across the country.
”The suite of programme under the N-SIP focuses on ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable populations, including children, youths and women.
”Kogi State keyed into the programme in partnership and have developed enormous capacity for the implementation across all the components,” he said.
Onyekehi explained that the HGSFP was aimed to deliver school feeding to public primary school pupils with a specific focus on increasing school enrolment and reducing malnutrition.
He said the HGSFP was also designed to empowering community women as cooks and by supporting farmers that help stimulate the economic growth.
The focal person disclosed that the HGSFP which had been on a pilot stage in Kogi had engaged about 1,400 caterers to feed the current number of over 85,000 pupils.
He said that additional caterers were being recruited to capture more public primary schools to accommodate more pupils who were yet to benefit from the scheme.
Onyekehi said that the HGSFP commenced in Kogi State in February 2019 up to Jan. 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,” Onyekehi said.
He said 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 youths, 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 about N800 million had so far been disbursed to 50,441 beneficiaries of both Trader-moni and Market-moni in the state.
Onyekehi explained that N434.4 million was disbursed to 43,443 beneficiaries under Trader-moni, while 6,988 others received N365.2 million under Market-moni.
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 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.
He said that 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.
He explained that the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) 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.
”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.
Onyekehi commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the initiative in providing jobs and lifting the poorest and vulnerable citizens out of poverty.
He assured the commitment of the Gov. Yahaya Bello to the full implementation of all Federal Government’s 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 programme 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 N-SIP office.
”Without the support of the governor, it would have been difficult for NSIP to record these achievements so far in Kogi,” he said.
Onyekehi appealed to the federal government for more logistics for the office of the NSIP focal person to facilitate effective implementation of the programme in the state. (NAN)