By Balkis Tijani.
A Kwara-based civil society organization, Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD) has appraised the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) Bill 2019, and presented its recommendations before the Kwara State House of Assembly Adhoc Committee on Social Investment.
It would be recalled that the Clerk of the State Assembly, Hajia Halimat Jummai Kperogi had, on 13th September, issued an invitation to stakeholders and the general public to grace the ongoing public hearing on the bill, taking place at the Hallowed Chamber, Kwara State House of Assembly, Ilorin.
Kperogi also enjoined stakeholders to submit their position papers on the bill.
ENetSuD, in its evaluation of the KWASSIP bill as posited by its Coordinator, Dr. Alagbonsi Abdullateef recommended among other things, that the Kwara State Social Investment Programme be made a parastatal under the State Ministry of Social Development which possesses the relevant statutory responsibility rather than being domiciled in the Office of the Governor.
This, he said, was imperative to avoid a conflict of responsibility in its functions.
Dr. Abdullateef also noted that the functions of the program captured under Section 5 of the bill do not envisage or empower the program to execute Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) Program provided for under Section 12(1)(d).
He, therefore, recommended that the functions under Section 5 be expanded to include functions related to Home Grown School Feeding.
On some other clauses in the section under review, he posed the following questions and recommendations:
Paragraph D: Will everyone under this program, including pupils in schools, enjoy the cash benefits?
Paragraph E: Should be to improve the living condition of poor and vulnerable Kwarans.
Paragraph G: There are various types of account (Mobile Money, Bank Account, Wallet, Bitcoin, etc). The particular account acceptable under this program should be established.
Paragraph H: What happens to an eligible beneficiary in a market who does not belong to a group or a cooperative society?
Paragraph J: The channel of disbursement is not clearly established
Paragraph K: There is a need to specify that the co-operative societies and market groups acceptable under this program are government-registered (Ministry of Commerce and Cooperative registration will suffice)
Paragraph N: It needs to be stated that the advisory services and support to individuals and organizations should be free of charge.
See ENetSuD’s detailed report below:
Paragraph C: The Ministry of Budget and National planning should be part of the ex-officio members in the committee
Paragraph E: The criteria for the appointment of the secretary of the program needs to be clearly stated like other members stated in the previous paragraphs. It is important to state that the appoint should comply with Section 16(1) of this Law.
Subsection (1)(b): Based on the provision of section 16(1) of this Law, the Secretary of the Committee/Program shall be from the Civil Service Commission. Thus, the Secretary (just like the ex- officio members) should be excluded from the Governor’s appointment accordingly.
The tenure of the Secretary of the Committee/Program also needs to be clearly stated.
Subsection (2): What if the other committee members who are not ex-officio are also already earning salary from government purse?
There will be a need for clarifications in section 6 (a), (b), (d) and (e) that Civil servants earning salary from government purse should not be appointed into the committee OR to exempt any civil servant (who is already earning salary from government like other ex-officio members) appointed into the committee from remuneration/allowance stated in section 7(2).
The Secretary, being a Civil Servant from Civil Service Commission, also needs to be exempted from remuneration/allowance like other ex-officio from Ministries.
Subsection (1): Why should the program be domiciled in the Office of the Governor instead of making it a parastatal under the State Ministry of Social Development with relevant statutory responsibility?
This needs to be debated, as there should not be a conflict of responsibility in functions.
Subsection (2): Freeing the program from Civil Service Bureaucracy needs to be looked into as long as the Program will be operated by Civil Servants under the jurisdiction of Civil Service Rule.
Subsection (1)(b): It is not clear if the Skill Acquisition by young Kwarans between the ages of 18 years
– 35 years will involve only hands-on training or also include financial reward as a start-up capital. This needs to be defined for operational purpose.
Subsection (3): Shall have power to exercise disciplinary control over who? This needs to be clarified.
Recommendation of appointment of the General Manager to the Governor by the Committee should be a subsection on its own under Section 14.
Paragraph (a): Since the Committee is serving like a Governing Board overseeing the Management Team, then employment, engagement and appointment of Staff of the program should be approvable by the Committee instead of the Governor.
Appointment/employment of staff should be within the jurisdiction of the Committee in line with the Civil Service rule.
Paragraph (c): The disciplinary control of the program should be in compliance with Civil Service Rule.
We hope that our positions on this Bill will be considered to improve it before passing it into Law.