Buhari fails to allay poverty despite over N2trn spent on social investment

WITH over 133 million people living in multidimensional poverty, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed through its National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) to allay poverty after expending over N2 trillion on the programme.

Buhari’s campaign was dominated by his Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which promised to restore, boost and resuscitate the Nigerian economy that had gone into recession.

On assumption of office, he established the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) ostensibly to address the immediate and long-term socio-economic imbalance, alleviate poverty and act as a stimulant to further economic growth.


The NSIP includes a range of programmes like the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP loans – MarketMoni, FarmerMoni and TraderMoni), N-Power, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).

The Federal government, through the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, revealed that it had invested a sum of N500 billion annually since 2016 in its NSIP.

He said the Federal Government was committed to grassroots development and had shown this by investing N500 billion annually from 2016 to 2019 in the NSIP.

The minister explained that the investment was done to create a more inclusive society that enhances the quality of life. The government has continued to implement the programme.

He noted, “The sum of N500 billion is appropriated annually for the scheme since 2016 to reflect the continued determination of the government to pursue an inclusive society and achieve growth. Policies such as the N-power scheme have seen 500,000 graduates and 26,000 others engaged.

“Under the national home-grown school feeding programme, as at March 2019, over 9.5 million school children across 30 states are being fed and over 1913 cooks empowered,” Agba said.

This means that the Federal government appropriated a sum of N500 billion for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 budget calendar each.

Other documents obtained by The ICIR indicated that over N5.04 billion was appropriated for similar programmes between 2020 and 2023.

The minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, stated in January that the ministry had impacted the lives of 15 million families through the NSIP.

Speaking at the 23rd edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration scorecard series in Abuja, Umar-Farouk said the programme had positively impacted the lives of millions of Nigerians since its inception in 2016.

”The NSIP has provided assistance and hope to millions of Nigerians. Let me once again list them as the national home-grown school feeding programme, the job creation unit, the national conditional cash transfer and the government enterprise and employment programme,” she said.

She explained that the national home-grown school feeding programme had already captured and fed over 9.9 million pupils across the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory.

Given this context, Nigerians anticipated that the programme would address the rising level of destitution and offer some social safety for those members of the society who are unable to easily eke out a living.

Despite these interventions and funding, 63 per cent of the population was estimated to be living in different categories of poverty,  according to the National Bureau of Statistics Nigeria Multidimensional Poverty Index (2022).

The report stressed that 65 per cent of the poor (86 million people)  live in the North, while 35 per cent (nearly 47 million) live in the South.

It said the survey sampled over 56,000 households across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory and was conducted between November 2021 and February 2022. It provided multi-dimensional poverty estimates at senatorial district level.

The National Multi-Dimensional Poverty (MPI) report is 0.257, indicating that poor people in Nigeria experienced just over one-quarter of all possible deprivations.

The report stressed that poverty levels across states varied significantly, with the incidence of multi-dimensional poverty ranging from a low of 27 per cent in Ondo to a high of 91 per cent in Sokoto.

According to the report, over half of the population of Nigeria are multi-dimensionally poor and cook with wood or charcoal rather than with cleaner energy.

In 2016, the World Poverty Clock put the number of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria at 60.8 million or 33 per cent of the population, while the country’s total population stood at 185 million.

By 2023, the number of people living in extreme poverty had moved to 71.2 million, representing 32 per cent of the 220 million population.



    The ICIR had reported that the poorest Nigerians had been deprived of the federal government conditional cash transfer.

    The report revealed that some of the beneficiaries of the programme had jobs.

    It also showed that the method of selection was questionable and lopsided as well and there were politicisation and irregularities in the scheme.

    It also unravelled that the enumerators used false information to put the names of their relatives and friends in the social register to gain from the cash transfer.

    Stories with punches holding the powerful accountable. His determination to speak out against corruption and influence the conversation in Nigeria, the surrounding region and the continent inspires him.

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