N500b welfare project unrealistic, says NASS


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The National Assembly yesterday declared that the Federal Government’s N500 billion welfare scheme lacked clear-cut implementation strategy. And advised that the take-off date of the programme be shifted to 2017.

At a marathon interactive session with the Ministry of Budget and Planning, Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Accountant General’s Office and major stakeholders, the National Assembly Joint Committee on Appropriation noted that the programme lacked any solid structure.

Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Danjuma Goje, who presided over the meeting attended by Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) leadership declared that: “The issue of N500 billion intervention, which we want to share to Nigerians. There is no detailed clear-cut structures being laid down for implementation of this project because what we have in this budget is N300 billion recurrent and N200 billion capital, no detail.

“We had to push hard more details on the programme yesterday (Wednesday), which is not convincing. For instance, the explanation we got is that N5,000 will be given to one million Nigerians.

“Who would choose the one million people, what structures do you have in place to make sure that you choose the right people?” he queried

He added: “So, Mr. Minister, we want you to come up with workable implementation strategy otherwise there are so many things that require attention in this country like power, roads, water, health, so many things are bad. We would rather use this money to solve our problem, use this year to do very sound ground work for implementation so that the programme can take off next year.”

Responding, the Minister of Budget and Planning, Mr. Udoma Udoma, said the special intervention programme was a political commitment, which the present administration would not hesitate to fulfill.

He promised to meet with relevant stakeholders to discuss on better strategies for implementation.

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