Budget Constraints Slowing Down Buhari’s Social Investments Programme

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Muhammadu Buhari

Tobi Soniyi

Inadequate funding of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes is partly responsible for why the impact have yet to be felt across the country, figures released from the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Office of the Vice President have shown.

Analysis of the budgetary provisions for the programmes reveals that out of an annual approved budget of N500 billion, only N470, 825,522,694.62 (31 percent) was released for three budget cycles of 2016, 2017 and 2018.

For the three years, the budget should have been N1.5 trillion. In 2016, only N79, 985,158,705.32 was made available for the programme out of the N500 billion appropriated while in 2017 N140, 000,000,000.00 was released.

In 2018, the federal government jerked up fund for the programme to N250,840,363,989.30.
At no time was the annual budget of N500 billion made available for the programmes.

The budget shortfalls have left a good chunk of the project unimplemented. The programme has secured N500 billion annually in national budgets over the past three cycles, but releases have consistently fallen well below the allocation, leaving
Upon assuming office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari Administration took it upon itself to design programmes that would improve the lives of all Nigerians irrespective of religion, political affiliation and social class.

The administration structured the programmes to be impact- oriented, specifically catering to the needs of the poor, vulnerable, unemployed and those at the bottom of the pyramid (without access to finance).

Four broad programmes (N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfers, National Home-Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programmes) emerged, each uniquely targeting different subgroups of Nigerians for empowerment.
Only last week, wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari was in the news again.

Apparently appalled by the level of poverty in the north, she criticized the Social Investment Programme (SIP) of her husband’s administration, saying there was little evidence to show that a good chunk of its budget was judiciously utilised.

According to her, the initiative has failed to reach its intended beneficiaries in at least Adamawa and Kano.

However, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Mrs Maryam Uwais has defended the what the programme had been able to achieve so far.

She nevertheless agreed that the program could have achieved more had there been more funds.

She said: “I believe we could do so much more if we have sufficient funding. We have only scratched the surface in the sense that we do not have the sufficient funding to address.”