By Chijioke Okoronkwo
The Schwab Foundation, a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum (WEF), has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari’s National Social Investment Programmes(N-SIPs).
Justice Bibiye, Communications Manager, National Social Investment Office (NSIO), in a statement on Monday, in Abuja, said the foundation conferred the prestigious Public Social Intrapreneur award on Mrs Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser to President on Social Investments.
Bibiye said that efforts by the Buhari administration to reduce poverty in Nigeria through its various SIPs had continued to receive thumbs up from well-meaning individuals and organisations within and outside the country.
He said Uwais and 40 other individuals selected from different countries received the award on Monday in New York in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact.
“The list includes start-up founders and chief executive officers, multinational and regional business leaders, government leaders and recognised experts who are working to address social and environmental issues with innovation, in areas ranging from water purification to financial inclusion to combating hate.
“For more than 20 years, the Schwab Foundation has recognised social entrepreneurs as a new breed of leaders, values-driven, inclusive, compassionate and entrepreneurial, developing new sustainable models for business, human development and environmental initiatives – and embedded them in the platforms of the WEF.
“The 2019 awardees were formally inaugurated during the WEF’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit held on Sept. 23, in New York, U.S.”
Bibiye said that Uwais, in a goodwill message to the global gathering, described the award as an International endorsement of efforts by Buhari”s administration to address poverty and unemployment through the faithful implementation of the N-SIPs.
He said, however, that Uwais was unable to attend the event in New York.
The communications manager quoted Uwais as saying that the recognition was a call to action for the Federal Government to commit more resources to tackling poverty.
Bibiye said that Uwais assured of continued transparency, efficiency and dedication in achieving the task of taking 100 million people out of poverty within 10 years, in line with the target set by President Buhari.
“I am truly encouraged by this International endorsement of our efforts, through the structures and processes we have put in place towards ensuring that we drive implementation and set standards at Sub-National level in Nigeria (where the work is primarily done).
“This award acknowledges that Nigeria is serious about reducing poverty and unemployment, while improving our human capital indices.
“It is also a testament to the willingness of our legislators (at the National Assembly) and the Governors in the States to cooperate and partner the Federal Government in its bid to uplift the conditions of its hitherto less privileged citizens.
“The close collaboration from the Federal Government, ministries and agencies, as well as the governors and officials of the states and local governments, has enabled us to work towards our objectives, as one united and indivisible country.
“I am humbled by this recognition and thankful to the Almighty for this opportunity to serve my country and its citizens.
“I am also grateful to the team that has worked assiduously towards achieving our modest successes; it has been a collective effort, personally led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo,” the statement quoted Uwais as saying.
The Schwab Foundation provides a veritable platform of expertise, knowledge and resources, and a network we can engage with, for the work ahead.
It is a privilege for me to be able to learn, share and engage with the very best in social entrepreneurship, for the benefit of Nigeria and its citizens.
Uwais, whose appointment as Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment was recently renewed, has since 2016 been in charge of the NSIO, a portfolio of the Federal Government which coordinates all components of the NSIPs in an inclusive manner.
No fewer than 10 million pupils in 32 states across the country are currently benefiting from the School Feeding Programme, while close to 650,000 poor and vulnerable households in 27 states are enrolled onto the National Cash Transfer Programme.
This is in addition to over two million people who have benefitted from interest and collateral-free loans through Marketmoni, Tradermoni, and Farmermoni facilitated under the Government Economic and Enterprise Programme GEEP.
The N-Power, a job enhancement Scheme, has profitably engaged over 540,000 young people across all local government areas of the country.