Government earmarks N146 billion for social, welfare programmes
• Urges East West Road contractors to return to site
The Federal Government has set aside N146 billion for its social and welfare programmes. Specifically, the money is for the Conditional Cash Transfer project. Other items in the scheme include the Home Grown School Feeding, N-Power and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
The Special Adviser to the President on National Social Investment, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, made the disclosure during a retreat for officials in her office and that of the Vice President at Tinapa Business and Resort Centre in Calabar, Cross River.
She said: “We have about N66 billion for the cash transfer for the first year because we are hoping to address 30 per cent of the entire population of this country otherwise we will not have money for anything else. But next year, we are going to do 50 per cent more that is why we have added six local governments in Cross River so that we can begin to pay them.
“There is another N80 billion we will be using for that but bear in mind that this money is not in the office of the Vice President or even in the Presidency. It is with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. All we do is to provide the schedule, the BVN and the account numbers.”
On mobilisation and control, Uwais noted: “We are leaving it for each state and that is why we ask the governors to give us one person we can talk to. But anybody can register through the Ministry of Women Affairs.”
However, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, has urged the contractors handling the East West Road project to return to site, pledging to make available the needed funds soon.
According to him, the road had become a source of concern to the present administration, lamenting that the road was already depreciating owing to its fallow nature despite that it has a 10-year completion period.
During a meeting with contractors yesterday in Abuja, he disclosed that the ministry had secured a €5 million grant from NEPAD Infrastructure Forum for the completion of skills acquisition centres in nine states.