BUHARI ADMINISTRATION AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION
By Bola Bakare
It has been globally acknowledged that the basic responsibility o any government to the given is primarily to secure the welfare and wellbeing of the governed.
The intention of the framer of the concept is such that the governed would from time to time delegate leadership responsibilities to some selected members of the society who in turn would ensure the promotion of their (the governed) wellbeing via policy actions and programmes that have been tailored to achieve such aim.
The world over, the success of any government is measured largely on how these ideals have been put in place, thus any government that fails in this primary responsibility is deemed a failure who will be viewed lacking legitimacy to lead.
Nigeria cannot in any way be an exception to the norm considering the fact that the country is a prominent and respected member of the global community, more so it is a large democracy governed by a well crafted constitution which has the issue of welfare of the people as a component unit.
Cognizance of its obligations to the people, the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has deemed it proper to address the issue of mass poverty in the country. He has demonstrated the resolve of his government to ensure that the frightening poverty ratio in the country is greatly reduced by ensuring that no Nigerian goes to bed on an empty stomach.
It is to the credit of the Muhammadu Buhari led government that a full fledged ministry, called the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs was created to cater for the basic needs of those who could be termed the poor and vulnerable in the society. Added to that, Buhari has also ensured the creation of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), an agency within the ministry.
No doubt, poverty is endemic in the country and that past governments have not really been addressing the issue coherently and sufficiently enough. The best efforts have been on an ad hoc basis, which had not in any way seriously addressed the issue adequately. All these changed with the coming of NSIP. Many of the numerous programmes and schemes don’t usually endure after the initial successes and impacts.
Specifically, NSIP is a youth focused programme put together to intervene by interfacing with relevant government agencies to provide and engage youth in productive engagements with a view to dousing the restiveness of that democracy with the ultimate aim of securing peace in the country.
The programmes commenced in 2016 as an agency within the purview of the office of the vice president, the creation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Poverty Alleviation and Disaster Management meant that the agency now has a new supervising authority away from the busy office of the vice president.
NSIP has four clusters it is implementing to achieve its mandate which are N-Power, which targets the youths to provide skills through training to young people’ Through this initiative, the government trains unemployed school leavers such as graduates in different vocations to be able to get gainfully engaged. Also, these graduates are embedded to different organisations and institutions to work for sometime.
They are paid some stipends as a stopgap before they secure permanent paid employment.
The second led of the programme is to get unemployed young professionals attached to organisations where their skills are needed for a period of time with the government paying them some stipends. Like the N-Power initiative, this scheme is also a stopgap arrangement for these youths to be able to use such platforms provided by the government to secure permanent employment.
The idea is to make sure that the beneficiaries use the opportunities provided to them by the platform to not only fend for themselves but to look for permanent jobs as well.
Also, the office usually selects youths across the country to partake in farming by becoming extension service providers to farmers by teaching them new farming techniques and methods, which will invariably increase production and yield.
The second programme being carried out by NSIP is the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme is to address the challenges inherent in the educational sector especially those relating to the high number of school age pupils who are out of school.
Specifically, the programme has been designed to help ensure greater enrollment of pupils into school by feeding them while at school. The decision to carry the programme is related to the poverty rate in the country as many parents lack the financial muscle to feed let alone sending kids to school.
To bridge the gap, government opted for school feeding arrangement where young pupils would have opportunities to feed in schools at least once a day. This brought about increase in schools enrollment figures across the country. The objective also ensure that attention of the young pupils would be gained with attendant increase in the quality of output in school leaving graduates.
The scheme is also boost local economy of rural areas by engaging women who cook who also source their materials from local farmers who ultimately provide the needed inputs.
The third initiative is the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) which is aimed at providing interest and collateral free loans to youths to be able to undertake whatever business venture that they wish to do. Under this programme we have schemes like Trader Money, Farmer Money, Youths are granted the sum of between N50,000 to N100, 000 to be able to actualise whatever business idea that they have.
The last initiative is the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), where a comprehensive data base of poor and vulnerable Nigerians are capture with a view to receiving monthly stipends to Nigerians to cushion the effects of poverty on poor households across the country. NSIP untilises the support and cooperation of the local community leaders in its efforts to capture poor households.