By Kingston Obung
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Protection Plans, Mrs.
Maryam Uwais, has disclosed that the federal government has earmarked N66 billion to boost its four social welfare programmes and another N80 billion as interest free loans for cooperative bodies.
Th e social investment programmes include the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF), N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) Uwais, who made the disclosure in Calabar yesterday during a retreat organised by her offi ce, said the National Social Investment Offi ce would be releasing the loan soon to registered cooperative bodies in the country.
Th e President’s aide explained that her offi ce had asked the Bank of Industries (BoI) to administer the loan so that it would be easy for government to recover as at when due.
She reiterated the resolve of the federal government to ameliorate the suff ering of Nigerians and to encourage the youth to learn as many trades as they want, and, therefore, asked that the programmes be widely publicised for Nigerians to benefi t.
On the school home grown feeding programme for school children, she said the federal government was targeting 117,000, including those out of school children to get them back to schools or give them skill.
She commended the focal person of the programme in Cross River State, Amb Nkoyo Toyo, for administering the four programmes well, and added that six local government areas have benefi ted from the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, and that six more would soon be added, and that over 3000 individuals have benefi ted from the CCT in the state while 4500 have also benefi ted from interest free loans so far.
In his remarks, Governor Ben Ayade, who was represented by his deputy, Prof Ivara Esu, commended the federal government for the vision.
He said although it was diffi cult for the state to intervene in social welfare programmes, the state government would cooperate with federal agencies to ensure Cross Riverians benefi t handsomely in such lofty programmes.