Government Is Spending Money On The Wrong People ….Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan has decried the fact government’s social security programmes are put to wrong use due to lack of credible data of the main beneficiaries.
He also decried the absence of strong institutions that should produce what is needed by the country stating that this has led to huge capital flight to enrich other nations.
Speaking at the launch of the Formal Launch of the Issuance Process for the National Electronic Identity Card (E-Id Card), at the Presidential Villa, the President however expressed happiness that the identity card has finally been realized adding that there is a ray of hope with the final launch of the national ID card.
” I am particularly pleased about NIMC because a number of things we are suppose to do well as a nation, we are not doing well. And sometimes we blame government but because of the failure of the system and the credibility of the process.
“There is no way we are doing local government election, electing House of Assembly members, electing governors in Oyo, Ekiti, Adamawa that all what we will produce will be done outside this country. Why? Other countries produce their own needs, we claim to be a giant, a giant that will just send everything out, we empower others we don’t create jobs for our people.
“And so mint must be restructured and both INEC and other bodies. For the Federal Executive Council, we cannot give approval for any printing whether passport or anything except Mint say they cannot produce that. As far as Mint can produce it, we must produce everything in this country”
The President who also noted that government was spending huge sums of money meant for the poor to fund the wrong people because of ack of appropriate data also said “If you take the issue of subsidy of transport, what we do is subsidizing Petroleum product that does not go to the ordinary people. Government spends hundreds of billions of Naira every year in the budget, ask the National Assembly. Sometimes it is controversial subsidizing kerosene yet the price is going very high in the market.
“We are thinking about how we can subsidize transport of the person going to school, the person going to the market, the person moving from Lagos to Enugu or Lagos to Kano. Not paying subsidy that 60 per cent of that will be smuggled out of the country. And those who make the money will come and use that money to induce the people who are suffering to even riot against government”.
The President, therefore directed the Nigeria Identity Card Management Commission to ensure that all registrable persons as provided for in Section 16 of the NIMC Act No. 23, of 2007 are enrolled into the National Identity Database and that all Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) involved in data capture activities, must align their activities, with a view to switching over to the NIMC infrastructure.
He also directed the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to ensure immediate compliance. The regime of duplication of Biometric data bases must now have to give way to harmonization and unification with the e-ID scheme, which shall be the primary data base.
He also urged office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the Governor of the a central Bank of Nigeria CBN, to work in conjunction with the Commission to reach modalities for the harmonization of their biometric projects, including other ongoing projects in other MDAs, with the e-ID card scheme.
“Proliferation and duplication of efforts is neither cost effective, nor security-smart. It is important to remove obstacles that may impede the NIMC from the discharge of its constitutional functions and statutory obligations”
“The NIMC must now focus all its energy on ensuring that the remaining two components of the NIMS roll out – Identity Authentication and Verification and the Alignment and in particular, Switching Over by the MDAs through the harmonization and integration framework – are deployed without fail”
He also directed that all logistics and speed of data collection be improved upon, “as this will reduce the justifications given by MDAs, as reasons for duplicated biometric options. Hopefully, the Harmonization programme will help to achieve this, especially, by the Commission ensuring that MDAs switch or at least align their existing infrastructure, as data collection agents to the NIMC System”
He specifically commended former President Olusegun Obasanjo who had during his tenure signed the NIMC Act into law, adding that “Even though the programme dragged for sometime, today is a good story we are telling the world”.
According to him , “When the issue of the crisis in the north came up, some people came up with the idea of how we could replicate amnesty programme in the Niger Delta in the North. I said look, we must not wait for people to carry arms against the state before we help them. I said let us as a government identify those without jobs, I asked those in Finance Ministry to look at our resources and how we can accommodate them. Not to wait for youths to carry weapons against the state in the south east, south south, north east, or north west, before you can think of how to address their needs. I then asked the then Minister of National Planning, Shamsudeen Usman, to come up with a blueprint because we must know the figures, we must know what we have. We cannot venture into what we cannot conclude. It is difficult because we don’t know ourselves, and up to this time is still paper work”
“During the 2011 elections, there were crisis in some states, properties were burnt but how do we address it? We set up committee to carry out inventory of things and take data of people. But by the time you want to do payment the duplications was so much, those who are affected will not get the money”
“I remember when I was in OMPADEC as the Head of Environmental Protection Unit, if there is no oil spillage if you go to any environment in Niger Delta, you can trek across one kilometer you will hardly see gods. But when there is spillage, every square meter you go you will see baby gods everywhere. So the spillage that is suppose to drive everyone away reproduce gods everywhere because every baby god is entitle to some compensation. So these are the problems we have”
“So I’m quiet please with the packaging of NIMC, the technical class have told us that is good for business that if you go to London… but beyond going to London, those of us still in Nigeria that will move from their house in Nigeria, who will need taxi, who will need the bus, as we progress, you will pay very low because of this card, government will be able to subsidized directly.”
“So you don’t need to go to London or New York to enjoy this. We are working to the extent that as long as you have your identity, government should be able to directly find a way of making living more meaningful. You cannot do that when you don’t know who is who because it goes to the wrong hand. And those people use this money to create more problems even for the very poor people they are exploiting”
“So I’m quiet pleased today, in fact with NIMC success story as a nation we are moving. And I said that everybody talks about change and I aways say that change is not just to wake up and change. A change is a vector you must have the magnitude and the direction”
“So we must have a direction that we are going. The key thing is to strengthen our institutions and that is why I am happy with NIMC. NIMC almost went the way of Nigerian Airways, Nigerian Shipping Line and Ajaokuta, everything just got died. Now NIMC is coming back”