In the position paper addressed to the Clerk of the House, signed by its Coordinator (Dr. Alagbonsi Abdullateef) and presented by its Assistant Secretary (Mr. Moshood Lanre Osho), Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD) recalled a public notice published on Herald Newspaper of 18th September, 2019 where the Assembly invited stakeholders and the general public to a Public Hearing on Kwara State Social Investment Program (Anti-Poverty) Bill 2019 scheduled to hold by 10:00 am on Friday 20th September, 2019 at Hallowed Chamber of the Assembly complex. ENetSuD summarized its position on the Bill as requested by the Assembly.
General Observation: The functions of the program enumerated under this section do not envisage or empower the program to execute Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) Program provided for under Section 12(1)(d). The functions under Section 5 need to be expanded to include functions related to HGSF.
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.
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 exofficio 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.
Please be assured of our regards.
Finally, ENetSuD insisted that the program cannot be tracked if the Kwara State Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill 2019 is not amended by the Kwara State House of Assembly and Assented to by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.