‘Why Nigerians aren’t benefiting from government programmes’
The Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan lamented that the social protection programmes (SPP) such as, Operation Feed Nigeria (OFN) Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and Sure- P, though, wonderfully prepared, have failed to make substantial impact on targeted beneficiaries.
Dr. Hakeem Tijani of the Public Sector Group, Social and Governance Policy Research Department (NISER), who led a team of researchers from the institute to present a paper titled, Evaluation of Social Protection Programmes in Nigeria, at the July edition of the institute’s monthly lecture series said inadequate coverage and disconnection between the programmes and poverty reduction are the major reasons why most government policies and programmes have not positively impacted on the life of targeted beneficiaries.
Tijani, while evaluating the impact of social protection programmes on the youths, aged and rural dwellers identified poor budgetary allocation, poor implementation and wrong target of beneficiaries as reasons why Nigerians are yet to feel the impact of these programmes.
On the way out, Tijani posited that governments at all levels should “increase the coverage of all SPP by increasing funding to them.”Tijani recommended that ‘government should’ scale up the scope of SPP for the under-five children-wider coverage/rural areas should be reached. Create massive employment for the teeming youths. Make health care free for women of child bearing age and free medication, create a register and fund for the elderly, payable every month by the state through local government offices and establish commodity collection centres at every local government for the elderly to collect basic needs.
The chairman at the occasion, Dr. Charles Akinola, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the introduction of social protection policies that would impact on the masses.
Akinola, who is the Director-General, office of the Economic Development and Partnership in Osun state said, “it is a paradox that we have a rich country but we have poor people. It is all about inclusion. It is all about inequality. SPP is actually a response to addressing poverty, especially that, which comes in ways in which inequality in wealth distribution is addressed.
“There has been different attempts to come up with a social protection policy in the past. We do have a draft, social protection policy, that should be nearing the last stage and I hope this administration will make sure that we do not just stop with having a draft, especially given the fact that this regime, far more than any before it, has given a very good focus to social protection.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Acting Director-General of NISER, Prof. Olakunle Odumosu lamented that despite the various SPPs, poverty is still increasing in the country.
He stated that the that the lecture was aimed at proffering solutions to the problems of SPP so that it can be managed in a way that the vulnerable in the society would have a sense of belonging.