Maryam Uwais The Driving Force Behind NSIP, By Mustapha Solagberu

As the campaign for 2019 general elections kicked off, the ruling All Progressives Congress had an arsenal, one that they would eventually use to garner votes and win the election.

These weapons shaped in the forms of the various schemes of the NSIP’s have been well oiled serviced and managed by none other than Maryam Uwais, a quiet achiever who as the head of the Social Investment Programmes in Nigeria, has managed to lift millions of Nigerians above the poverty line.

Ms Maryam Uwais who hails from Kano State was not given the position of SA to the president on NSIP matters on a whim but rather her vast experience and a high commitment to getting the job done has stood her in good stead in times past and made her choice for the position a relatively easy one.

Ms. Uwais, is a respected lawyer with over 30 years experience. She was a member of the; Kano State Almajiri Committee, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of Children, Principal Partner of Wali Uwais & Co law firm, Special Reporter on Child Rights, member of the Editorial Board of Thisday Newspapers, Non-Executive Director and Member of Board of Directors of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC and former Central Bank of Nigeria staff.

All these past experiences have led her to achieving quite a lot at NSIP within a short period of time. Some of these achievements include but are not limited to;

Reducing the number of Out of School children

The number of out of school children in Nigeria was growing astronomically before the 2015 general elections. Increasingly, pupils lost interest in schooling mainly because they simply could not meet the minimum required nutrition coefficient to learn adequately.

To stem this tide, the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme was established. Even though the Federal Government voted the sum of N500 billion for NSIP, the programme only received the sum of N100 billion between 2016 and 2017. With that, the programme recorded about 6.8 million direct beneficiaries, with additional 1.75 million secondary beneficiaries comprising cooks, farmers and the Poor and Vulnerable Household members under the coordinator, Ms. Maryam Uwais.

Curbing the menace of unemployment

The Federal Government of Nigeria designed the N-Power Programme to reduce youth unemployment. Its focus was to provide young graduates and non-graduates with the skills, tools and livelihood to enable them advance from unemployment to employment, entrepreneurship and innovation.

N-Power targets Nigeria’s critical needs in education, agriculture, technology, creative, construction, tech and artisanal industries.

Under the leadership of Maryam Uwais, 526,000 Nigerians who were hitherto jobless have been employed under this scheme and tablets stored with various skills acquisition trainings for further knowledge acquisition. And the government is projecting one million beneficiaries annually in the second Phase.

Alleviating the poorest of the poor out of poverty

A large proportion of the Nigerian population lives below the poverty line, so in order to provide a safety net for the poorest households and encourage asset acquisition for poor households and promote financial inclusion and stimulate productivity, thereby reducing poverty, the NSIP under the leadership of Ms. Maryam Uwais captured extremely poor people in the National Social Register where about 872,700 poor households across the states were paid being paid #5,000 monthly under the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme (NCTP).

Lenders of last resort

TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni microcredit products scheme have generated quite a significant amount of buzz and national conversation. Zero collateral loans, ranging from N10, 000 to N300, 000 are given to MSMEs operators, as part of poverty eradication efforts.

In the first phase of GEEP, about 500,000 market women, traders, artisans, farmers across all 36 States of the country and the FCT have been paid representing 56% women beneficiaries

Lately, the wife of the president and the former SA had a face off regarding the NSIP stance where the first lady claimed the initiative had failed to reach its intended beneficiaries or at least in Adamawa State and also postulated that “The SSA to the president on social investment is a lady from Kano and I’m sure that my husband decided to put somebody from Kano because of their population and the political impact it made.

But this could not be further from the truth because Adamawa state alone has recorded 30,785 beneficiaries of the N10,000 TraderMoni (interest-free loan) scheme, an estimated 11,000 N-Power graduate beneficiaries who are receiving the monthly stipend of N 30,000, 167,853 school children are being fed in 1,054 public primary schools in the state and 16,859 households are benefitting from the Cash Transfer Project. Ms. Maryam Uwais surely deserves some accolades after these strides which clearly counter the first lady’s statement.

A lit candle they say cannot be hid, and the SIP figures of 526,000 N-power beneficiaries all over the federation, a successful unprecedented 9,638,773 NHGSFP Beneficiaries, 304,476 CCT Beneficiaries and 1,705,932 GEEP Beneficiaries all point towards great stewardship on the path of Ms Maryam Uwais.

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