On Tuesday, the Senate commenced the amendment of the National Social Investment Programme Agency Act (NSIPA), 2023. The proposed amendment aims to relocate the agency from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to the Presidency.
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, the Leader of the Senate, introduced the bill during the plenary session, seeking to make changes to various sections of the NSIPA Act, 2023, including Sections 9(3), 14(1), 21(1), 22(1), 26(1), and 33. These changes would result in the agency being directly supervised by the President.
Bamidele highlighted that the bill’s significance lies in its potential to enhance poverty alleviation and social inclusion. The proposed amendment aims to ensure that the social investment programs are standardized, transparent, effective, and accountable. He noted that this effort is aligned with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope mantra and the principles of the Nigerian Constitution.
The proposed changes are in line with Section 17(3) of the Constitution, which directs the state to pursue policies that provide all citizens, regardless of group or status, with opportunities for livelihood and suitable employment.
Bamidele emphasized that this amendment could contribute to achieving a wide range of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including poverty reduction, education, health, social inclusion, and empowerment, through the NSIPA.
During the plenary, former Senate President Ahmed Lawan pointed out that although the 9th Senate had passed the bill, its implementation was flawed, particularly in reaching beneficiaries in rural and remote areas who lacked bank accounts. He emphasized the need for the National Assembly to actively participate in ensuring that beneficiaries are effectively captured.
Senator Seriake Dickson suggested that the amendment should address other issues raised during the program’s implementation under the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari, including the criteria for selecting beneficiaries. He highlighted the importance of parliamentary approval for government initiatives like TraderMoni and COVID palliatives.
Following the discussion, the Senate President referred the bill to the committee of the whole for consideration on the following day, allowing senators to review the bill clause by clause.
The NSIPA Act was initially enacted in May 2023 to address socio-economic inequalities and alleviate poverty among Nigerians. The National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) was established in 2016 under the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari, consisting of four pillars: N-POWER Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, and the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, all designed to uplift the poorest and most vulnerable citizens across the country.
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