Buhari Reps question President over unused N500b welfare fund

Uwais also assured the lawmakers that the projects will be launched in September.

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari speaks at a joint news conference with his French counterpart Francois Hollande at the presidential villa in Abuja play Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari speaks at a joint news conference with his French counterpart Francois Hollande at the presidential villa in Abuja, Nigeria, May 14, 2016 (REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)
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The members of the House of Representatives are bothered about the N500b social welfare fund, which they say has not been used.

The lawmakers also said there is hardship in the country despite the allocation of such a huge amount for social security.

The Chairman, Committee on Poverty Alleviation, Mohammed Wudil, said “The huge amount that was allocated to the office needs to be justified particularly now that poverty has gone so high in the country.”

The lawmakers said the money was approved in the 2016 budget, but there is no concrete evidence showing what it has been used for.

Concerned about the non-usage of the money, the Reps on Tuesday, August 23, 2016, held a meeting with the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Social Investment, Maryam Uwais.

Speaking to Uwais, the Chairman of House committee on Legislative Budget/Research, Golu Timothy, wondered if the money was too much for her office to handle.

He also cited the fact that the year is coming to an end, and her office is yet to roll out any project.

Timothy also 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.”

Responding to the lawmakers, Uwais called for patience, adding that some modalities had to be worked out before rolling out the projects.

Adding that the social welfare programme is directly under the supervision of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, as instructed by President Buhari.

Uwais also said her office had to work out how to effectively monitor the project and its delivery to ensure that there is no duplication of duties among participating agencies.

Speaking on the school feeding program of the Buhari-led administration, the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo said it will create jobs and also boost the economy of the community which the schools are located.

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