Presidency rejects Lawmakers demand for N5000 Stipend Slot



The government last December began the implementation of the poverty alleviation scheme with payment of N5000 per month each to poor and unemployed Nigerians compiled in a register in conjunction with the World Bank and the state governments.

States where cash transfers have been confirmed in the pilot scheme are Borno, Kwara and Bauchi with Ekiti, Cross River, Oyo, Ogun, Niger and Kogi are short-listed in the first phase of disbursements according to a statement by the Office of the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo.

The manner of implementation of the programme for which N500billion was budgeted for in the 2016 budget has not gone down well with members of the National Assembly who bemoaned their non-inclusion.

A member of the House of Representatives who spoke to ThePlatformNews on the issue said federal lawmakers should have been allotted slots which they could use to benefit their constituents. The lawmaker, who would not want his name mentioned in this report, said the least that was expected from the presidency was for National Assembly members to have been consulted and carried along in compiling the list of beneficiaries.

Another lawmaker also told us that leaving the implementation of the anti-poverty scheme in the hands of the governor would leave senators and House members short-changed especially those not in cordial political relationships with their state chief executives.

It was further gathered that the pressures from the lawmakers had prompted the leadership of the National Assembly to approach the presidency on the need to include the interests of legislators in the short-listing of beneficiaries.

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A source who confirmed the meeting of National Assembly leadership with the vice president told this newspaper that the latter was firm in turning down the request on the ground that the scheme was computerised and that applicants were shortlisted via the N-power online portal without political interferences.

The vice president also reportedly told the NASS leadership that lawmakers can liaise with their state governors to take their interests into account in compiling the list of beneficiaries.
The response from the presidency has not gone down well with federal lawmakers who have continued to demand the inclusion of their interests since they are supposedly closer to Nigerians at the grassroots in the constituencies they represent in the National Assembly.

However, lawmakers are also concerned about opportunities to adequately perform oversight on the implementation of the N-power scheme given the influence state governors have been allowed to wield.

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