Hundreds of thousands of graduates benefiting from the federal government’s N30,000 monthly N-Power scheme will be disengaged in the next two months, an official has said.
The federal government Friday announced plans to disengage both Batch A and B graduates enrolled in the N-Power scheme.
In a statement signed on Friday by the humanitarian ministry’s Deputy Director, Information, Rhoda Iliya, she said the exit of the volunteers would commence on June 30 and July 31 respectively for batches A and B.
The ministry also disclosed that the disengagement of both batches would follow a fresh enrollment for a new Batch C volunteers which will be effective from July 26.
According to the statement, the decision followed efforts to provide opportunities for more Nigerian youth to access the programme.
“The Ministry has announced that Batch A will exit June 30, 2020 and Batch B will exit the programme on July 31, 2020. And the commencement of enrolment for a new batch of N-Power beneficiaries effective July 26, 2020,” the official said.
“The federal government is committed to the continuation and expansion and as such will now begin enrolment and onboarding of a new Batch of beneficiaries. Skills acquisition for entrepreneurship and job creation are critical for an economy that will require a boost post-Covid-19 and we are gearing up proactively for the challenge.”
It noted that the Batches A and B volunteers are not eligible to participate in the new application process, adding that comprehensive details for the new batch “will be announced in the coming weeks.
The ministry also said that applications will be conducted using a hybrid system of enrolment to ensure that all Nigerians are given an opportunity to participate.
It added that special considerations would be available for persons living with disabilities.
“The online portal would be open to receive applications from noon on June 26, 2020 and will provide a level playing field for all applicants. All applicants must supply their Bank Verification Number (BVN) in their application. This is to ensure a streamlined and transparent selection process.
“Once applications are submitted, the ministry will review submissions and publish a list of successful applicants,” Ms Iliya said.
The humanitarian ministry also said efforts are being made to ensure that the exiting beneficiaries are absorbed into government entrepreneurship schemes after “completion of psychometric assessment to determine competency and placement into various opportunities.
“We have commenced the transitioning of beneficiaries from Batches A & B into government entrepreneurship schemes and engaging private sector bodies to absorb some of the beneficiaries after the completion of psychometric assessment to determine competency and placement into various opportunities,” Ms Iliya said.
The N-Power programme was inaugurated by President Buhari in 2016 with thousands of direct beneficiaries spread across the key industries targeted by the programme – Agriculture, Health, Education, and Tax.
The first batch (A), which commenced with over 200,000 young Nigerians in 2016, was to have exited the scheme in December 2018.
Perhaps because of the general elections in February 2019, the federal government extended the programme to May 2019. This was followed by indefinite extension which will now end on June 30.
The second batch (B) kicked off in August 2018, with about 300,000 beneficiaries who ought to exist he programme in July 2020.
There had been controversies between humanitarian minister Sadiya Farouq and President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Social Investment, Maryam Uwais, about the exit package for the Batch A volunteers as each traded blame on who was responsible for the delay in disengaging the beneficiaries.
The minister had blamed the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), under Mrs Uwais, for having no viable plan for the exit of the beneficiaries.
In reaction, Mrs Uwais said her team had made ‘exit plans’ which had not been implemented before the programme was moved to Ms Farouq’s ministry. She also said she had briefed Ms Farouq on those plans.
The scheme 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.