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As you all know Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development. Despite the current high level of unemployment, harnessing Nigeria’s young demography through appropriate skill development efforts provides an opportunity to achieve inclusion and productivity within the country. Large-scale skill development is the main policy thrust of the N-Power Programme
The federal government has given reasons why the monthly stipend given to N-Power beneficiaries has not been paid for the past two months.
N-Power is one of the National Social Investment Programmes (SIP) designed by the present administration to reduce poverty, unemployment and social insecurity among Nigerians. It involves the deployment of thousands of unemployed graduates to schools and other institutions to work there while the government pays them a stipend of N30,000 monthly.
The NSIPs were being supervised by the office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, but has now been transferred to the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
In a press briefing on Monday, the minister in charge of the new ministry, Sadiya Farouq, blamed the payment delay on the current handing over process of the N-Power to her ministry.
“The ministry is currently engaging the NSIP Cluster Heads for clarifications; in essence, the handover and taking process for these two programmes is still ongoing,” she said.
She also suggested that the retention of N-Power beneficiaries who should have exited was also responsible for the delay.
“That N-Power beneficiaries enrolled in 2016 are yet to be exited 16 months after the elapse of their contract; they are supposed to have been graduated to a more productive venture,” she said.
She said the ministry was making efforts to develop an exit plan and that the money owed would be paid to beneficiaries upon conclusion of the handing over process.
She assured the public that the government will continue to fund its Social Investment Programmes and ensure that it touches lives positively.
Read the full briefing by the minister below.
PRESS BRIEFING IN RESPONSE TO THE NONPAYMENT OF STIPENDS TO N-POWER BENEFICIARIES:
RESPONSE BY THE MINISTRY OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ON THE NON PAYMENT OF STIPENDS TO N-POWER BENEFICIARIES.
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development came into existence in August 2019. The mandate of the new Ministry was communicated in October 2019. Among the Agencies and Programmes reposed on the Ministry was the National Social Investment Programme.
The N-Power initiative is one of the four clusters of National Social Investment Programmes that were designed to stem the growing tide of poverty, unemployment and Social Insecurity in Nigeria. N-Power is the job creation and economic empowerment component of the NSIP for young unemployed Nigerians.
I have received initial briefings from heads of Agencies and Programmes reporting to the Ministry from October 2019, however on account of the technicalities involved, the handing over process is still on-going. With regards, to recent agitations and outcry against the non – approval of payments of October and November, 2019 stipends to N-Power beneficiaries the Ministry wishes to:
Reaffirm its commitment to ensuring that beneficiaries of all the Social Investment Programmes access interventions designed for them within the stipulated guidelines.
Inform that the Home Grown Feeding Programme, which is also a cluster of the NSIP has continued to run smoothly since its transfer to the Ministry. Except for the four states that were submitted during my absence and this has already been treated.
That there are information gaps with regards the monitoring and evaluation mechanism and framework of the N – Power and the GEEP programmes. Some officials of NSIP are of the view that the programmes should be completely restructured.
The Ministry is currently engaging the NSIP Cluster Heads for clarifications; in essence, the Handover and Taking process for these two (2) programmes is still ongoing.
That N-Power beneficiaries enrolled in 2016 are yet to be exited 16 months after the elapse of their contract; they are supposed to have been graduated to a more productive venture;
That the Ministry is currently making efforts to develop an exit strategy, which is non-existent.
I wish to seize this opportunity to assure all N- Power beneficiaries and indeed all Nigerians of the Ministry’s commitment to Mr President’s promise to stem poverty in the country as well as lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. This is a clarion call we must all answer for the sake of our fatherland. This present glitch needs addressing if we are to commence the assignment at hand with the required traction. In this regard, the Ministry also wishes to assure all beneficiaries that all arrears will be paid as soon as the handing and taking processes are concluded and the grey areas are addressed. There should be no apprehension with regards to the continuity or sustainability of the Social Investment programmes as the Government will continue to adequately fund them and ensure that they reach the beneficiaries and touch lives positively. Finally, while craving for patience and understanding, I wish to thank all the NSIP Managers, who are taking great pains to explain the technicalities of the project to the Ministry officials to ensure a smooth transition.