President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday official unveiled his administration’s social protection programme which he called “the most ambitious” in Nigeria’s history.
“For too long, ours has been a society that neglects the poor and victimises the weak. A society that promotes profit and growth over development and freedom. A society that fails to recognise that, to quote the distinguished economist Amartya Sen, ‘poverty is not just lack of money…’,” Buhari said in a Democracy Day broadcast.
“So, today, I am happy to formally launch, by far the most ambitious social protection programme in our history.’’ He, therefore, expressed optimism that the programme would lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty while at the same time creating the opportunity for people to fend for themselves.”
President Buhari further said that N500 billion has been appropriated in the 2016 budget for social intervention programmes in five key areas. He also said that his administration was committed to providing job creation opportunities for 500,000 Nigerians to work as teachers and employ 100,000 artisans across the nation.
“5.5 million children are to be provided with nutritious meals through our school feeding programme to improve learning outcomes, as well as enrollment and completion rates. The conditional cash transfer scheme will provide financial support for up to one million vulnerable beneficiaries, and complement the enterprise programme which will target up to one million market women; four hundred and sixty thousand artisans; and two hundred thousand agricultural workers nationwide,” Buhari said.
According to him, this programme will target up to one million market women, 460,000 artisans and 200,000 agricultural workers, nationwide.
President Buhari further disclosed that, through an education grant scheme, the Federal Government would encourage students studying sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as lay a foundation for human capital development for the next generation.