Faith Yahaya, Abuja
The Federal Government has explained why beneficiaries of its N-Power programme have not been paid their stipends in the last two months.
N-Power is one of the national Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) designed by the Muhammadu Buhari administration to reduce poverty, unemployment and social insecurity.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, said the delay was caused by administrative changes under the programme.
The minister explained that the delay was not unconnected with lack of proper exit plan for beneficiaries who enrolled in 2016, despite the expiration of their contract.
Umar Farouq addressed reporters yesterday on the causes of the delay and government moves to resolve the matter.
She said: “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 regard to recent agitations and outcry against the non–approval of payments for October and November, 2019 stipends to N-Power beneficiaries, the ministry wishes to reaffirm its commitment to ensuring that beneficiaries of all the SIPs access interventions designed for them within the stipulated guidelines.
“There are information gaps with regard to the monitoring and evaluation mechanism and framework of the N–Power and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP). 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 is still ongoing.”
Umar Farouq added: “The 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. 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.
“The ministry also wishes to assure all beneficiaries that all arrears will be paid as soon as the handing and taking over processes are concluded and the grey areas are addressed.”
She also allayed fears that the programme would be scrapped.
“There should be no apprehension with regard to the continuity or sustainability of the SIP. The government will continue to adequately fund them and ensure that they reach the beneficiaries and touch lives positively.”
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