Majority Leader in the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, on Tuesday said the N500bn social intervention programme of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is bound to fail like the previous welfarist programmes of successive governments.
Ndume said that the way the programme is structured and the process of its implementation would not benefit the target members of the populace.
“Getting everybody involved is very important; but as of now, they are trying to run it exclusively and it is bound to fail; and that is what we are trying to avoid,” he stated.
Ndume stated this at a press briefing after his motion seeking a review of the programme was passed by the Senate during Tuesday’s plenary.
The lawmaker asked how the N80bn said to have been released by the Federal Government for the programme was spent.
He also asked if there were Nigerians who could come out to say they had benefitted from the initial disbursement.
The senator also criticised the alleged non-involvement of critical stakeholders in the country to implement the programme, including the local government, which is the closest tier of government to the grass roots.
Ndume said, “The motion I moved was necessitated by the public outcry and I believe that every Nigerian should support that motion because we have had bad experiences enough –- too many to count.
“It started with Operation Feed the Nation during the military regime; it failed. That was because there was no proper framework for implementation. Otherwise, we would have gone far in terms of food production and we would have been feeding ourselves, based on the concept of the programme.
“After that, we moved to MAMSER; that also failed because there was no implementation framework.
“After that, when (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo came, he felt it was necessary to address the level of poverty and he came up with NAPEP. They ‘imported’ one man from America and the project packed up. We were only left with one legacy, which is Keke NAPEP (commercial tricycle).
“We had another one before SURE-P. Then came the SURE-P and a lot of money was wasted. If adequately planned, it could have gone a long way to alleviate poverty and address the issue of unemployment by providing self employment means to our teeming youths. That failed.
“In fact, even the Amnesty Programme of the Niger Delta is not (as) successful as it is supposed to be because there is no proper framework for its implementation.
“Then came YouWin, which nobody won. When programmes like that come up, we are fond of making them private and personal in the sense that once a lump sum of money is announced, the implementers quickly start to think of what they can get out of it, not what they can do with it.”
In the motion entitled, ‘The need to avoid the mismanagement of the N500bn Social Intervention Funds,’ Ndume said, “The Senate observes that in the light of recent petitions and complaints from our constituencies, this money will not be well spent, nor will it achieve any major benefit to the economy despite the good intentions of government because of the way it’s been structured.
“The Senate reiterates that the one-size-fits-all of online registration of beneficiaries has the tendency to exclude and marginalise the very segment of the population it should target, which is made up of the poor and their children.”
Members of the Senate, therefore, unanimously voted for the motion that, “In order to avoid the pitfalls of the past intervention schemes, the Federal Government should take another look at the N500bn intervention programme to incorporate manual registration of beneficiary from all wards and local governments in the country.
“That the Federal Government present a clear framework that does not marginalise any segment of our society, no matter where they may be in the country and present same to the National Assembly within two weeks for passage into law;
“That a clear channel of accountability for the implementation of the programme must be created and be audited on a continuous basis and its report presented to the National Assembly.”