The federal government recently hinted of its plans to start removing overstayed N-power beneficiaries from the programme. This particularly affects 2016 and 2017 beneficiaries who have already stayed beyond the stipulated two years for the programme.
However, the beneficiaries are supposed to have been graduated to a more productive venture, not simply walking back to the streets in search of job. There is supposed to be an exit package for the beneficiaries to ensure they lived a productive life.
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investment, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, had hinted in the past that there was an exit plan for N-Power beneficiaries.
Uwais recently told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja that the plans were worked out long before the programme was moved to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster and Social Development.
Also, Sadiya Farouq, who is the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, recently said the exit package for the first batch of N-Power beneficiaries was underway without actually mentioning exactly what it was. She added “that no beneficiaries of the N-power programme will go back to the street, begging to be employed, never.”
But with the recent announcement by the federal government of plans to begin removal of beneficiaries that have overstayed without saying whether the exit package will be made available to those that will be affected, a lot of beneficiaries are already worried.
So what are the possible exit plans for the N-power beneficiaries who have overstayed? Based on the hints given by government officials on this issue, here are the top six possible exit packages planned for N-power beneficiaries that have overstayed and are about to be removed. Whether these exit plans/packaged would be implemented is another issue.
1. N-power officials and federal government agencies have had meetings with Central Bank of Nigeria on different loan options for the N-Power beneficiaries after exiting the scheme.
2. Federal government agencies overseeing the N-power scheme have discussed with the Minister of Finance on some funding via the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme.
3. Federal government agencies have also met with state governors to employ beneficiaries from their own states.
4. There’s a possible plan to employ some of the beneficiaries into the community policing programme of government, especially by state governments.
5. The federal government’s social investment office has had a meeting with the Ministry of Finance in the presence of the vice president and asked for a certain amount as capital funding as loans just to exit them (N-Power beneficiaries) through the GEEP programme (according to Maryam Uwais).
6. Social Investment office of the federal government has had discussions with IBM and they were planning to train them online (according to Maryam Uwais). This is with a view to equipping the beneficiaries with skills that can make them independent.
It is hoped that the federal government should not only put in place but also implement an exit plan before disengaging any batch of the N-power beneficiaries.
The N-Power initiative is one of the four clusters of National Social Investment Programmes of the Federal Government designed to stem the tide of poverty, unemployment and social insecurity in Nigeria. It is a job creation and economic empowerment component of the NSIP for young unemployed Nigerians.