President Muhammadu Buhari has retained fiscal allocations for both the Social Intervention Projects (SIPs) and the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme in the 2019 budget.
While the president proposed N500 billion for the SIPs, he said N65 billion is expected to be expended for the amnesty programme – initiated by one of his predecessors – according to the 2019 appropriation bill he submitted to the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Buhari, while reading his budget presentation at the joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja, said the Niger Delta programme was meant to maintain peace in the region, while the SIP will “pursue inclusive gender-sensitive and pro-poor growth”.
”The allocation to the Social Intervention Projects (SIPs) has been retained at N500 billion, consisting of N350 billion recurrent and N150 billion capital and to maintain the peace in the Niger Delta, the provision of N65 billion for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been retained in the 2019 budget,” Buhari said.
”Similarly, the sum of N45 billion has been provided for the North-east Intervention Fund, as well as the sum of N10 billion as take-off grant for the North-east Development Commission.
The federal government in 2016 approved N20 billion allocation for the amnesty programme, while in the 2017 budget, Buhari jerked it to N65 billion which he retained in 2018.
Since the inception of the social intervention programmes, N500 billion has always been allocated for its four component programmes in 2016, 2017 and 2018 budgets, but only N250 billion has always been released.
The amnesty programme was set up by late President Umaru Yar’Adua, on June 25, 2009 an initiative aimed at resolving militancy in the Niger Delta.
The SIPs were set up by the Buhari administration to improve the living conditions of millions of Nigerians across the country.
The programmes include N-Power, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), National Cash Transfer Project (NCTP), and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
In his speech, Buhari said since the beginning of the scheme, the N-Power scheme has employed 500,000 graduates.
”The National Home-Grown School Feeding programme is feeding 9,300,892 pupils in 49, 837 schools in 24 states across Nigeria, and empowering 96,972 cooks;
”The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme has seen to the disbursement of 1,378,804 loans to small businesses and farmers in all states including the FCT. These are interest-free loans that will be paid back;
”297,973 households in 26 states across the country are benefitting from the Conditional Cash Transfer programme,” Buhari said.