The Federal Government of Nigeria has responded to the demands of some protesting N-Power beneficiaries who want exiting Batch A and B beneficiaries to be employed by the government.
The protesting beneficiaries had also on Thursday, 23rd July, demanded that the government pay each of them N600,000 grant if it couldn’t employ them permanently.
Naija News recalls the protesters marched on the Nation’s capital city, Abuja from the National Assembly to the Federal Secretariat Complex, carrying banners with several inscriptions such as “Npower volunteers are available to close the gap of unemployment rates in education, health and agricultural sectors in the country.”
The Batch A beneficiaries have already been exited from the scheme, while Batch B beneficiaries will exit at the end of July, meaning about 500,000 Nigerians will be exited from the N-Power scheme.
Reacting to the latest demands by the exiting beneficiaries, the federal government, in a statement on Friday by the Director (Press) in the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Mrs Rhoda Iliya noted that government can’t afford the N300 billion grant been demanded by the beneficiaries.
She noted that the demands were contrary to the initial agreements between the government and the beneficiaries, adding that they were fully aware of the conditions before taking up an offer from the government.
The statement noted that: “On Thursday 23rd of July 2020, a rally at the National Assembly which later proceeded to the Federal Secretariat Complex.
“The protesters claimed to be representatives of the Federal Government’s N-Power beneficiaries that are about to be exited.
“They requested the Federal Government to employ all the 500,000 beneficiaries as well as pay them a grant of N600,000 each.
“The Ministry wishes to state that this demand was not part of the agreement of engagement they signed with the Federal Government, which clearly stipulated that they will be exited after 2 years.
“Furthermore, the government cannot afford the N300 billion they were asking for a grant.
“It is noteworthy to state that the FGN has expended hundreds of billions to N-Power beneficiaries during the last 4 years and is liaising with the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, which is responsible for the payment of their stipends, to ensure that any outstanding legitimate claim is settled.
“The Federal Government cannot afford to continue to pay the exited N-Power beneficiaries stipends indefinitely, more so that the process of engagement of new beneficiaries has already begun.
The Ministry’s spokesperson, however, noted that the government is negotiating with relevant agencies such as CBN and NALDA, to see if the exited beneficiaries can key into their empowerment programmes.
Naija News recalls the Minister for humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development, Hajia Sadiya Farouq in a personally signed statement some weeks ago, shed further light on why the government is exiting about 500,000 beneficiaries from the N-Power scheme.
The Minister in her statement explained that if the two batches are not exited from the scheme, government may not have sufficient resources to accommodate the new Batch C beneficiaries due to the effect on the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s economy.
She added that “The transitioning and exit of Batch A and B is not a punitive action. It is a proactive intervention to help up skill your brothers and sisters and assist them further along on their journey through life.”
She used the occasion to thank the Batch A and B members for their service to the country and urged them to continue to be good ambassadors of the scheme.
Hajia Farouq also gave assurances to the exiting beneficiaries that her ministry and administrators of the N-Power scheme will be in touch with them with details of their transitioning and exit from the scheme.
Meanwhile, the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development has explained that some NPower beneficiaries were not paid their stipends because the payment platform already recognized their accounts on other government payrolls.
In a statement on Thursday, Rhoda Iliya, deputy director of information at the ministry, revealed that 14,020 beneficiaries of NPower have existing accounts on the payroll of other agencies.