The Federal Government has explained why beneficiaries of N-Power programme across the country have not been paid their stipends in the last two months.
N-Power is one of the national Social Investment Programme (SIP) designed by the present administration to reduce the growing rate of poverty, unemployment and social insecurity.
According to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, the delay is because the handing and taking over process is yet to be concluded.
The minister also explained that the delay is not unconnected to lack of proper exit plan for beneficiaries that enrolled in 2016 despite expiration of their contract.
Moving forward, the minister noted that the ministry was making efforts to develop exit plan which was not in existent.
She however assured that the money owed would be paid to beneficiaries upon conclusion of the handing over and taking over process, adding that government will continue to fund its Social Investment Programmes and ensure that it touches lives positively.
She disclosed this in her office in Abuja on Monday during a press briefing.
Giving reasons for the delay, she said: “I have received initial briefings from heads of Agencies and Programmes reporting to the Ministry from October 2019, however on account of the technicalities involved, the handing over process is still on-going.
“With regards to recent agitations and outcry against the non – approval of payments of October and November, 2019 stipends to N-Power beneficiaries, the Ministry wishes to reaffirm its commitment to ensuring that beneficiaries of all the Social Investment Programmes access interventions designed for them within the stipulated guidelines.
“There are information gaps with regards the monitoring and evaluation mechanism and framework of the N – Power and the GEEP programmes. Some officials of NSIP are of the view that the programmes should be completely restructured.
“The Ministry is currently engaging the NSIP Cluster heads for clarifications; in essence, the handover and taking process is still ongoing.”
She continued: “The N-Power beneficiaries enrolled in 2016 are yet to be exited 16 months after the elapse of their contract; they are supposed to have been graduated to a more productive venture and the Ministry is currently making efforts to develop an exit strategy, which is non-existent.
“I wish to seize this opportunity to assure all N- Power beneficiaries and indeed all Nigerians of the Ministry’s commitment to Mr. President’s promise to stem poverty in the country as well as lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“The Ministry also wishes to assure all beneficiaries that all arrears will be paid as soon as the handing and taking processes are concluded and the grey areas are addressed.”
She also allayed fears that the programme would be scrapped. “There should be no apprehension with regards to the continuity or sustainability of the SIP as the government will continue to adequately fund them and ensure that they reach the beneficiaries and touch lives positively.