Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday stated that the Buhari government has committed N500billion to Social Investment Programme.
He described this as the largest pro-poor programme in Nigeria’s history, and the largest social safety net in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Osinbajo, in his speech at the 10th Bola Tinubu Colloqium in Lagos, sad this was despite the fact that by 2015, oil prices fell by over 50% and production also fell from over 2 million barrels a day to less than 700,000 barrels a day, sometimes even 500,000 barrels in 2016.
He said: “We have seen today the empirical evidence of the successes of this programme, and all of that is evident for us to see and listen to several testimonies and stories. 200,000 jobs for undergraduates employed under the N-Power programme, 300,000 more waiting to be employed; they have been pre-selected; over 7 million children being fed daily in 22 States so far; beneficiaries of microcredit loans going to about 300,000; and almost 300,000 households benefiting from conditional cash transfers.
“In 2014, when oil was at between 100 dollars and 114 dollars a barrel, the actual releases for capital for three ministries – Power, Works and Housing – then they were three separate ministries, was in total N99 billion; while Transportation got 14 billion, and Agriculture got 15 billion. I’m talking about actual releases, not budgeted, what they actually got.
“Let’s compared that with capital releases to the same ministries in 2017, when oil price was between $50 and $60 a barrel, N415 Billion for Power, Works & Housing, N80 Billion for Transportation; N65 Billion for Agriculture; totalling N560 Billion, in a time when we were earning at least 50% less than we were earning in 2014.
“And when we say that this same government that spent N139 Billion only on all of Agric, Power, Works and Housing, Transport, etc; spent between January 2015 and the elections, the sum of a N100 Billion in cash and 289 million dollars, altogether about a 100 Billion in cash, was released and spent, shared. This sum of money was in excess of the amount of money that was spent on Power, Works and Housing.
“I will just give you one last example. Three billion US dollars was lost to something called the Strategic alliance contracts in NNPC, 3 Billion US Dollars, and never paid back. Now, the same 3 Billion dollars, the Minister of Finance sat with us at a meeting of the Economic Management Team, and we are proposing; in fact 3 billion dollars is about a trillion naira.
“We are now proposing foreign loans for the same 3 billion dollars: (to build the following roads): Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road, 2nd Niger Bridge, Enugu-Port Harcourt road, East-West road, Sagamu-Ore-Benin road, Kano-Maiduguri road, Abuja-Lafia-Akwanga-Keffi road, and Lagos-Abeokuta: the old road, all for the same 3 billion.
“Today we earn almost 50% less than five years ago and we are investing several times more. In 2017 we spent 1:3 Trillion on capital, the largest in the history of this country, despite earning 50% less. The majority of our people depend on the integrity of those who govern them because they don’t have the odds. They are far too poor, in many cases, far too vulnerable to be able to say anything for themselves.”