The federal government says it has approved the payment of stipends to the exiting N-Power batches A and B beneficiaries under the National Social Investment Programmes.
The minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq, said the approval for the exited N-Power beneficiaries is up to June 2020 and their details have already been forwarded to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for final checks and payments.
The minister said this in a statement issued by Special Adviser, Media, Nneka Anibeze, on Thursday.
Ms Farouq noted that the outstanding approval waiting to be forwarded to AGF’s Office is for the payment of July Stipends for batch B beneficiaries.
The ministry had recently announced the disengagement plans of both Batch A and B graduates enrolled in the N-Power scheme. It said the exit of the volunteers would commence on June 30 and July 31 for batches A and B respectively.
Also, in the statement, the minister spoke on the 14020 beneficiaries who were recently uncovered by the AGF’s Office, through the Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIPMIS) to have had existing accounts details in other Ministries, Departments, and Agencies MDAs.
Ms Farouq said her ministry has, therefore, requested for details of those affected and the reasons for their rejection from the AGF’s Office. She also promised to communicate that to the affected beneficiaries.
“However, if the rejection was done in error, those affected should be rest assured that they will be paid all that is due to them as soon as the error is rectified by the AGF’s office,” she said.
Exit package of N-Power batch A and B
Ms Farouq also explained that the exit of both batches A and B of N-Power beneficiaries by the ministry after 40 and 24 months respectively, is in line with the conditions stipulated at the time of their enrolment.
The minister also blamed the previous administrators of the SIPs for the delay in exiting the beneficiaries, saying there was no plan for either automatic employment into public service or private sector or for the transition of the outgoing beneficiaries
She, however, called on the beneficiaries to exercise patience as efforts are being made to ensure that volunteers interested in participating in the transition plans of the ministry, be engaged into various MDAs in the country.
Ms Farouq said, “This is corroborated by the fact that when the N-Power programme was transferred to the ministry late last year, there was no plan for either automatic employment into public service or private sector or for the transition to entrepreneurship put in place for them before they take over by the Ministry.
“Despite this, the exited beneficiaries are advised to exercise more patience and await the result of the efforts being made by the Honorable Minister, who is currently engaging various MDAs including the CBN and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure that the eligible exited beneficiaries are transited to government programmes or even employment where available.
“We have directed Focal Persons of NSIPs in all the states to submit an updated list and details of the exited N-Power beneficiaries that are interested in participating in the transition plans of the ministry” the minister stated.
“While continuing, the Honourable Minister added that the incoming Batch C beneficiaries will clearly know the details of their terms of enrollment and exit at the time of entry into the programme to avoid what happened in the case of Batches A & B.
“Furthermore, an adequate plan will be made well ahead of their time of exiting the program to avoid what happened presently.
The N-Power scheme inaugurated by President Buhari in 2016, was, until last year October, moved away from the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), to the new ministry.
In December 2019, shortly after the scheme was transferred to the minister, controversies sprung up involving the Presidential Special Adviser on Social Investment, Maryam Uwais, about the exit package for disengaged N-Power volunteers as each party traded blames 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.