The Federal Government on Friday, June 19, announced that it was set to disengage 500,000 graduates benefiting from N30,000 monthly N-Power scheme. The announcement added that fresh batch of beneficiaries would be enrolled, commencing from June 26.
Humanitarian ministry’s Deputy Director, Information, Rhoda Iliya, said the exit of the volunteers would commence on June 30 and July 31 respectively for batches (A) and (B), adding that the volunteers in both batches are not eligible to participate in the new application process.
The N-Power programme was inaugurated by President Buhari in 2016 with thousands of beneficiaries across the key industries targeted by the programme – agriculture, health, education, and tax.
The first batch (A), which commenced with 200,000 young Nigerians in 2016, was to have exited the scheme in December 2018 but ended of being extended to this moment. The second batch (B) kicked off in August 2018, with 300,000 beneficiaries who ought to exit the programme in July.
The federal government cannot be accused of bad faith with the plan to disengage these volunteers. The fact is that this was known to the participants right from inception.
Each batch was to exit within the period of 24 month, but batch (A) was privileged to benefit for 40 months. My only quarrel is that, the federal government ought to have assisted the beneficiaries with other ways of earning a living before disengaging them.
As we all know, it is better to not experience a luxury at all than experience it for a short period of time. These are people who got used to earning money monthly and some of them have started raising families, solely depending on the stipend they receive.
The federal government therefore, needs to, as a matter of urgency, either offer them permanent employment, or provide them with viable alternatives to stand on their feet.
Finally, the federal government should put in place sophisticated methods to ensure that all rooms for manoeuvre are blocked so that the outgoing beneficiaries are not able to reapply.
For the next phase of the programme to be effective, the government must ensure that the monthly salaries and incentives given to them are utilized judiciously and the volunteers properly equipped within the time frame.
The beneficiaries on the other hand should bear in mind that complementing the government’s efforts is a duty every good citizen is bound by.