The federal government has begun the process of overhauling the N-Power scheme, school feeding programme and other National Social Investment Programmes (NSIPs).
This development was communicated by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. It noted that the overhaul is to ensure maximum transparency, greater efficiency and more prudent application of resources.
According to a statement by Rhoda Ishaku Iliya, the ministry’s Assistant Director (Information), the process of overhauling the programmes will involve observing and enforcing due diligence in the NSIP processes to ensure full compliance with extant regulations and best practices in public sector financial transactions.
“To that effect, all present processes, especially beneficiary enrolment and payments including for consultancies, are being scrutinised and stakeholders are being consulted for inputs that will lead to the total overhaul of the programmes in order to achieve the purposes for which they were established,” she stated in the copy sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday.
She also announced that the ministry will place all transactions under the microscope to ensure that the massive resources which the present administration is channelling to place in the hands of the most vulnerable groups in the country reach them instead of ending in the pockets of middlemen or double-dealers, who while receiving payments from the specific programmes also take up other paid jobs.
“It is hereby emphasised that the Ministry is determined to give maximum effect to the laudable decision of the government to institutionalize the NSIPs, the implementation of which is costing the government billions of Naira annually.”
“The Ministry acknowledges that this effort to overhaul the programmes may temporarily slow down the tempo of implementation and will certainly not go down well with vested interests sure to be frustrated with the new direction, and who may, therefore, resort to the use of traditional and new media as well as misdirected public advocacy to distract government and derail the process.”
“The Ministry is, therefore, appealing for maximum understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders and appeals to any misinformed members of the public to desist from actions that may distract the Ministry from discharging this important national mandate or even delay the implementation of these life-changing programmes.”
“The Ministry and its agencies will continue to render services to Nigerians in humanitarian situations effectively, deliver relief to those affected by disasters, evolve and implement policies that drive social development and facilitate economic inclusion for the benefit of the most vulnerable in the country especially through the N-Power, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), Conditional Cash Transfer, as well as the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme and other programmes, rolled out by the present administration.”
Of all the NSIPs, N-Power is perhaps the most abused by beneficiaries through incessant absenteeism from duty posts.
The N-Power was introduced in 2016 with the aim of reducing unemployment among Nigerian graduates and non-graduates between the ages of 18 and 35.
The volunteers are paid N30,000 monthly as stipends and given tablet computers to aid further learning.
One of the many hurdles characterising the N-Power programme has remained the issue of beneficiaries absconding from duty at their various PPAs.
According to a special report published by PREMIUM TIMES in July, some N-Power beneficiaries absconded from duty and abused their opportunities in three selected states: Kano, Katsina, and Adamawa.
The agency then sacked 2,525 beneficiaries for absconding from their PPAs.
The agency also announced that about 18,674 other beneficiaries of the initiative “have voluntarily resigned, having secured permanent employment.”