Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has declared that since the take off of N-Power, one of the social investment programme of the federal government in December 2016, that none of the beneficiaries has been owed. It also disclosed that so far the sum of N279 billion has been spent on the stipend paid to beneficiaries of the programme from December 2016 till date.
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Job Creation and Youth Employment, Office of the Vice President, Afolabi Imoukhuede, made the disclosure while fielding questions from journalists on Friday. The N-Power programme is one of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) introduced by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration towards creating jobs and ameliorating poverty in the land.
While giving the breakdown of the stipend disbursed, the presidential aide explained that N30,000 monthly was paid to the 500,000 youths engaged under the N-Power programme since December 2016.
According to Imoukhuede, the first batch of 200,000 youths have earned a total of N180 billion for 30 months from December 2016 to June 2019 with a monthly bill of N6 billion.
He further disclosed that additional N9 billion monthly bill was paid from August 2018 to June 2019 totaling N99 billion for the second batch of 300,000 youths engaged under the N-Power programme.
According to him, “It is very simple when talking about amount that has been invested. I am saying that in Batch 1, they started earning from December 2016, so roughly we invest N72 billion annually just for Batch 1 alone. That is aside from the gadgets that they get and aside from from all the sponsored trainings that they get.
“For instance, all the trainings on agric for N-Agro, training for health for those who are in health, we sponsor all of that through the federal agencies, ministry of agriculture and ministry of health.
“So direct on our people is N30,000 x 200,000 = N6 billion every month for the first batch which started in 2016. So they have been there for over two years, that is N72 billion multiply by two years or thereabout.
“But since August last year, the wage bill moved from N6 billion to N15 billion because it’s now 500,000 of them that earn N30,000 monthly. We have been on N15 billion for almost one year because by end of July it will be one year that we have been making that investment every month.
“So if you put it together that just tells you how much investment we have made and like I have said, we don’t owe anyone because the money is paid directly to them not through a proxy.”
The Presidential aide further explained that the scheme was designed to solve the problems of unemployment Nigerian youths were facing after graduation.
Imoukhuede speaking on the plans to recruit National Youth Service Corps members and beneficiaries of the N’Power programme to beef up the manpower needs of the Nigeria Police Force, said the proposal actually came from the managers of the programme. He said the SIP office actually supplied the data to the Nigeria Governors Forum, describing the beneficiaries as fully trained foot soldiers spread in all 774 local government areas in the country. The corps members and N’Power cadets are to make up for the inadequacy of the ongoing recruitment of 10,000 additional hands by the police.