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National Assembly creates new poverty reduction scheme



Members of the Nigerian senate at a plenary

Members of the Nigerian senate at a plenary

A new law to address poverty and other socio-economic issues in the country is being worked on by the National Assembly.

The bill, a copy of which was obtained by The Guardian yesterday is titled “A bill for an Act to establish the Social Safety Net Service to provide for reduction of hardcore poverty among rural and urban vulnerable groups and implementation of social protection systems.”

The specific programmes which the service is to provide include food transfers, cash transfers, credit schemes and conditional subsidy programmes for the less privileged.

The scheme also entails the provision of rural maintenance programmes for the benefit of households where one or more of the children or dependent is terminally ill.

It also includes education stipend, old age allowance, conditional and unconditional disability allowance, agriculture subsidy for marginal farmers, as well as unemployment/housing provision.

According to the bill sponsored by Senator Rilwan Akanbi (APC, Oyo South), the service shall be under a department in the Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning and be created in all branches of the ministry in the 36 states. There would also be safety units in all the 774 local councils nationwide.

Other functions of the proposed agency include providing effective coordination between the safety centres in the states and the units in the local councils to adequately targeting poor areas and reaching individuals in such places and having a monitoring and evaluation unit to assess projects.

The service is also expected to develop a blueprint for effective monthly, quarterly and yearly monitoring, evaluation and analysis of the safety nets to develop a matrix for poverty reduction by collaborating with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that have similar platforms for social welfare.

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