The National Social Investments Programme (NSIP) has debunked claims that the new Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq, deliberately refused to approve payments for school feeding in four states.
It explained why the payment had been stopped amidst an outcry from the vendors.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Social Investments, Ismaeel Ahmed, in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, said the ministry “needed more time since the SIPs programme has been on transition from the presidency to the new ministry”.
Mr Ahmed’s comments followed reports that the new minister deliberately refused to approve payment for the National Home Grown School Feeding Program for Lagos, Imo, Kogi and Benue states.
The NSIP was set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 to improve the living conditions of millions of poor Nigerians across the country.
It started under the office of the vice president, Yemi Osinbanjo, until this year when it was moved to the newly-established Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.
The programmes include N-Power, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), National Cash Transfer Project (NCTP), and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
Sahara Reporters in November reported how a memo for the payment of vendors and caterers in the 27 states had been sent to the office of the minister for approval but she only approved that of 23 states minus Lagos, Imo, Kogi and Benue states.
The presidential aide also noted that the “civil service procedures in the new ministry” and briefings were responsible for the delay in payment of stipends of N-Power volunteers for two months.
He further said that all the issues associated with the delay of payments had been resolved.
Mr Ahmed said payment of the backlog would resume.
“It should be noted that the former accounting Ministry, which is the Ministry of Budget and National Planning has to put on hold all processes of payments after the presidential instruction of the movement of the SIP.
“Hence, the necessary civil service procedures that needs to be set up in the new ministry and the briefings delayed payments for a bit,” Mr Ahmed said.
PREMIUM TIMES had also reported in November how the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investments, Maryam Uwais, and Ms Farouq disagreed over the exit plan for over 200,000 first batch N-Power beneficiaries.
Read full Statement below:
Our attention has been drawn to an Exclusive Story reported by Sahara Reporters written on the 25th of December, 2019 on the alleged Failure of The Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs to approve payments for school feeding in some states and Npower Stipends for October,/November 2019.
Since the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiyya Farouq, assumed office, she has gone about handling the transition of the affairs of the Social Investment Programmes from the Presidency to the new Ministry, with the support of the programme administrators and the Cluster Heads.
During this period, she has had to receive briefings from the NSIO and the different clusters concerning the implementation and status of the programmes, successes and challenges.
Where she needs additional information, she has sought further clarification in a bit to ensure that the implementation process fulfills the intended mandates of the SIPs.
It should be noted that the former accounting Ministry, which is the ministry of Budget and National Planning has to put on hold all processes of payments after the presidential instruction of the movement of the SIP.
Hence, the necessary civil service procedures that needs to be set up in the new ministry and the briefings delayed payments for a bit.
However all issues and briefings and procedures has been resolved and payment has continued unhindered.
Regarding the delay in the stipends of N-Power volunteers for two months (October and November), the Hounourable Minister, in a Press Conference on the 2nd of December 2019 explained the reason behind the delay, and also pledged that beneficiaries would receive their backlog payments on or before December 20th, 2019.
This was done. These actions clearly indicate that, contrary to what some media houses are putting out, the Honourable Minister is not acting in any inimical manner toward the Programme. She has cleared all request that have to do with
payments of vendors and stipends that has reached her table.
The Honorable Minister and the National Social Investments Programme are focused towards using the SIPs as an impactful tool towards actualizing the President’s mandate to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years
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