The House of Representatives on Tuesday raised questions regarding N500bn budgeted by the Federal Government in the 2016 budget for job creation and provision of other social services to vulnerable people.
In a meeting with the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investment, Maryam Uwais, the House Committee on Legislative Budget/Research and the Committee on Poverty Alleviation raised questions on why the money has not been used for its purpose.
The lawmakers expressed concern that the year would end in about four months.
The Chairman, Committee on Legislative Budget/Research, Golu Timothy said it appeared that Uwais’ office was facing challenges implementing the plans the money is meant for.
He said, “Importantly, we must note that a budget of N500bn coordinated basically through one office is huge.
“Transparency is key and we at the House of Representatives want to ensure that the office is competent enough to coordinate such a huge amount of funds without being overwhelmed by the job.
“We, however, believe that our synergy will assist you also to implement these programmes efficiently and effectively and thereby give comfort to Nigerians that this is not another white elephant project like PAP, MAMSER, NAPEP, Peoples Bank, etc.”
Uwais, however, said lots of preparatory work and discussions with the various state governments had been done, stating that the programmes would kick off in September.
She explained that efforts had been made to ensure “effective monitoring and evaluation, standard delivery mechanisms, avoid duplication of roles and responsibilities, proper coordination and synergy amongst key ministries, departments and agencies.”
“So far, nine states have opened a social register and 10 states have started the home-grown feeding programme for school pupils across Nigeria.
“What we proposed was N70 per meal, but some states were able to perform the feat with N40 per meal,” she told the lawmakers.