The Senate says it has launched an investigation into the Cash Transfer process of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Special Duties, Senator Yusuf Yusuf, who disclosed this in an interview in Abuja on Monday, says the investigation is being carried out with a view to identify the beneficiaries and the procedure adopted in selecting them.
He expressed dissatisfaction with the operational procedure adopted by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, particularly its claims that it used a World Bank model to determine the beneficiaries.
The senator said the National Assembly had not received any communication from the Federal Government on its request for N500bn meant for disbursement to vulnerable Nigerians.
“The SIP has what they call a national social register. We are trying to scrutinise that register to find out who are the beneficiaries and how they came about the list,” says Senator Yusuf. “The register was as a result of world bank indicating that they can use citizens of the various communities. I have done my own investigation too and I’m still doing it.”
The Senator expressed concern on how the World Bank is able to identify the vulnerable, whereas senators and other Nigerian representatives cannot.
“The World Bank is coming to determine who in the community is vulnerable and I, as a senator, am from my own community, I don’t know who is that.
“I think there are certain issues we have to look at seriously. We need to do a lot of discussion among ourselves with the executive side so we can know really who are those vulnerable people and how is the system being implemented.
“There are certain lapses which we need to correct as time goes on. COVID-19 has brought us in into a new reality altogether, it is like a war. When you are at war front, you have to look out to handle it.
“A lot of discussion is going on to make sure more of the households are integrated but you know resources is limited; there is no way the government can meet the palliatives of each and every household in this country. But we are talking about the vulnerable households.”
On the N500bn request from the Federal Government, Yusuf said, “We are waiting for it to be brought to the National Assembly. All what we did was to approve the N850bn borrowing from domestic markets. The restructuring of the budget is certainly coming to the National Assembly.
“We are working on it; as soon as the executive brings it, which will include the N500bn, and how to appropriate and spend it, we will move from there.
“For me, I’m not satisfied, certainly not but at this point in time there is nothing much we can do other than to engage the agencies of government handling it to look at it in a dispassionate way, in a fair and more objective way to determine these people who are vulnerable.”