Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
State governments have raised concerns over what they described as the lack of proper mechanism for the sustainability of the National Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government.
This was one of the decisions reached at the first quarter 2018 edition of the Forum of Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Secretaries to State Governments with the theme, ‘Intergovernmental relations for sustainable growth and development’ held in Yola, Adamawa State.
The Director of Information, Office of the SGF, Lawrence Ojabo, made a copy of the forum’s communique available to journalists in Abuja on Monday.
After listening to a presentation by the Special Adviser to the President on the SIP, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, participants also decried what they called over-centralisation of the NSIP’s structure at the federal level.
They also noted that there were no proper mechanisms for sanctioning defaulters under the scheme.
In finding ways out of the identified challenges, they said the structure of the NSIP needed to be reviewed and strengthened in some states.
The communique read, “Monitoring and evaluation should be strengthened both at the state and federal levels.
“There is a need for extensive consultation with states in the planning and implementation of the NSIP and other similar programmes.
“There should be increased awareness on how to benefit from the programme.”
The participants also asked that a component of the NSIP, the National Homegrown School Feeding that caters for pupils from Primary 1-3, should be extended to cover Primary 4-6.
They made a case for continuous and regular funding of the school feeding scheme and asked that proper structure and coordination of the programmes should be ensured at the state level.
After listening to a presentation on the government’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the participants regretted that loan beneficiaries under the scheme were not willing to pay back.
This, they noted, might hinder the inflow of cash into the programme for expansion and continuity.
Other challenges identified under the ABP included lack of adequate publicity and enlightenment on the modalities for accessing the programme; and delay in the release of funds by banks to the beneficiaries because of bureaucratic bottlenecks as well as the frequent changes in both fiscal and monetary policy guidelines that make the conditions for granting loans stringent for poor farmers to fulfil.
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