From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that the Social Investment programmes of the Federal Government, where it has budgeted half a trillion naira, will kick off this month.
Osinbajo said the programmes have reached advanced stages as the selection of the first 200,000 unemployed graduates to get jobs is almost completed.
Speaking with newsmen at the Presidential Villa, the vice president disclosed that “we expect that before the end of the month, we will engage 200,000 out of the 500,000 unemployed graduates the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration plans to hire in the N-Power jobs programme”. He said the direct government jobs are meant “to keep these young people occupied, pay them some amount of money and also give them a device which will also help them to learn several skills that they can develop as time goes on.”
“We expect that before the end of this month, we should have engaged 200,000 of them and we are hoping that before the end of the year we should have engaged more.” Osinbajo added that the Home-grown School Feeding Programme is expected to kick off in several states this month.
“Definitely, before the end of this month, we expect that several states would have come on stream with their home-grown school feeding programmes.”
He said the home-grown school feeding programme “will energise agriculture in the different states because it is what you plant that you feed the children with; we will be hiring caterers, cooks, etc, in each state because it will be federal government funded from primaries 1-3 and the state governments, hopefully, would be able to cater for the other classes.”
He said the micro-credit scheme, for over one million Nigerian artisans, traders, market women and others would also kick off this month.
“We are giving micro credit loans to about 1.5 million women across the country. We are focusing on market women and artisans for loans between N60,000 and 100,000 each. We are working through the Bank of Industry (BOI). They are going to be giving out these loans. We’ve already identified the banks and everybody who is involved in this. We should be flagging-off, hopefully, before the end of this month.”
The vice president reassured Nigerians that the Buhari’s administration was well focused on ameliorating their plight.
“We fully understand and appreciate the situation of things in the country, and we are committed to ensuring that the pain is assuaged. The president stated that clearly in his broadcast to the nation on October 1. All his life, he has been a salary earner, so he understands why someone who earns salary and even those who do not, are severely challenged at this time of economic recession,” he said.
“I want to assure Nigerians that the government of President Buhari is a very focused and determined government. We are committed to ensuring that we are able to develop the economy in such a way that Nigerians are able to find opportunities in their own country,” Osibajo said.
He listed ‘Made in Nigeria’ project, moving away from import dependence, boosting agriculture, and encouraging manufacturing as some of the urgent actions being pursued by government in order to move the country forward.
The vice president reiterated the administration’s zero tolerance for corruption, which he described as “the major drain on the country’s resources.”
“No one would be spared in the fight against corruption because, even the close friends of the president know they will not be spared. Fighting corruption is a priority,” he stressed.