The Federal Government said it has released N25 billion or five per cent of the N500 billion earmarked for social intervention programmes.
This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Budget and National
Planning, Zainab Ahmed, while briefing journalists at the end of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, Wednesday in Abuja.
Mrs. Ahmed also said an additional N40 billion is about to be released for the programme which has just kick-started
“We have approval from the steering committee in sum of N150 billion.
“So far N25 billion has been released into the account and there is
another N40 billion that is in the process of being released into the
account,” she said.
The government had provided N500 billion for social intervention programmes in the 2016 budget. But President Muhammadu Buhari has asked that the National Assembly approve N180 billion of that sum to be diverted to other projects.
Among the intervention programme put in place by the government is the school feeding programme and payment of N5,000 monthly to vulnerable persons and others.
Mrs. Ahmed said the government is rolling out the first four programmes which will continue till 2017.
She said the Ministry of National Planning presented a memo to the council for notation and implementation on the progress of the social investment programmes.
She said the programmes are in four parts. The first one is the home-grown school feeding programme which is targeting 5.5 million primary school pupil in all the states of the federation from primary1 to 3. She said while the federal government will be responsible for primary 1 to 3 pupils, the states will take charge of primary 4 to 6.
“As at today, 11 states are fully ready to start and first phase will feed 3.5 million school children”, she said.
The second programme is on job creation which aims at preparing 500,000 university graduates who will be equipped with devices containing information to train them as teachers, agricultural workers and also as health support workers.
She said they will subsequently be deployed to work in their local communities and that they will be receiving a monthly stipend of N30,000 for a period of two years.
The third is the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, where one million care givers will be given N5000 monthly over a period of two years.
“Focus has been given to the extremely poor and vulnerable in our society and special emphasis is being placed to providing as many as possible in the north-eastern part of the country where we have a lot of internally displaced persons,” she said.
The fourth is the enterprise promotion programme (EIP) which is essentially
a loan scheme that will be handled by the Bank of Industry, BOI.
She said 1.6 million people including market women, traders, artisans, small
businesses and youth will be given loans ranging from N10,000 to N100,000 with a repayment period of three to six months and administration cost of
five per cent.
Mrs. Ahmed, however, said no payments have been made to anyone on any of the programmes yet.
“There is no spending yet on the national social investment programme, we are just kicking off. The funds will be released to the Bank of Industry this week for the EIP programme and for the school feeding programme. It is only after the cooks have performed that they will get their first payment,” she said.
The Federal Government has already budgeted N500 billion in the 2017
spending plan for the continuation of the programme.
50 per cent of 2016 budget implemented
Mrs. Ahmed also said that so far the Federal Government has achieved 50 per cent implementation of the 2016 capital budget.
She said that while budget implementation in terms of personnel is fully up to date, operational expenditure has been disbursed for eight months and the ninth month is just being processed.
“Capital expenditure has been disbursed to the tune of nearly 50 per cent.
About N720 billion has been released, from the MDAs N1.5 trillion capital vote as at the end of September” she said.
The 2016 budget which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in May
this year is expected to end in December while the 2017 budget takes
off in January.
Mrs. Ahmed said the 2017 budget preparation is at an advanced stage and has already been extensively reviewed by the Economic Management Team.
The document, she said, will soon be submitted to the Federal Executive
Council for approval after which it would be taken to the National Assembly.
More approvals for Power Ministry
The Council also approved a memo on the construction of a 215MW power plant in Kaduna.
The memo was presented by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
Mr. Fashola said the project which will be completed by next year is expected to add 215 megawatt of power to the national grid.
He said a lot of the power generated will be dedicated to Kudan dam in Kaduna to support the industrial complex there.
He also said the council has approved the construction of a sub-station to evacuate 40 megawatt of power from the Gurara hydro electric power plant phase 1 in Kaduna to enable it interconnect to Mando transmission substation.
He said the new transformer is expected to strengthen the transmission grid.