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FG increases number of N-Power beneficiaries to one million- Official

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The Federal Government has increased the number of N-Power beneficiaries to one million, up from 500,000 under the National Social Investment Programmes(NSIP)

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq, disclosed in a press briefing on her ministry’s achievements since its creation in August last year, on Monday.

The N-Power, cash-for-work programme, inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 with 500,000 of direct beneficiaries, is spread across the key industries targeted by the programme – Agriculture, Health, Education, and Tax.

The first batch (A) commenced with over 200,000 young Nigerians in 2016, while the second batch (B) had about 300,000 that kicked off in August 2018.

Both batches were in June this year disengaged from the NSIP scheme, allowing for opportunities for new batches into the work-for-pay scheme.

The programme was domiciled under the control of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, but since the commencement of the second tenure of the Buhari administration, Ms Farouq’s ministry has been in charge.

While reeling out her ministry’s achievement, Ms Farouq said the government had ensured an increase of beneficiaries in the small scale Empowerment Programme (GEEP) by one million while number children benefiting from Home-Grown School Feeding programme by five million.

She attributed the development as part of efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years.

“In order to double the scope of the National Social Investment Programmes, Mr President has graciously approved the expansion of all NSIP programmes, such as increase of N-Power beneficiaries from 500,000 to 1,000,000, increase of GEEP beneficiaries by 1,000,000 and increase of beneficiaries of Home-Grown School Feeding by 5,000,000,” the minister said.

She added that over 2.8 million of the households which comprise 13.5 million individuals are readily eligible to benefit from the recently increased 3.7 million households in the National Social Register.

She also disclosed that the register would use database garnered from government agencies including the National Communications Commission (NCC) and the bank verification number (BVN) from the Nigeria inter-bank settlement system (NIBSS).”

“About 3.7 million households comprising more than 15.5 million individuals have been captured on the national social register. Of that number, over 2.8 million of the households which comprise 13.5 million individuals are eligible for conditional cash transfer,” she said.

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“In line with Mr president’s directive to expand the national social register, we have developed a strategy for targeting the urban poor. This register will use existing databases from the National Communications Commission (NCC) and the bank verification number (BVN) from the Nigeria inter-bank settlement system (NIBSS).”

President Buhari had in April this year ordered the addition of one million households to the NSR up from 2.6 million households to cushion the negative economic impact of the lockdown induced by COVID-19 on Nigerians.

The NSR is an initiative under the National Safety Net coordinating office( NASSCO) in collaboration with the Youth Employment and Support Operation (YESSO), a World Bank assisted programme.

The scheme identifies the poorest households in given communities.

For the controversies that trailed the distribution of palliatives by its ministry during the lockdown induced by COVID-19, the minister said the items donated by both the federal government and other private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) were handed over to the state governments for proper distribution of the relief items.

She said many of those items were delivered, saying that while some state governors distributed theirs, some kept the food items in warehouses for whatever reasons.

Some of the warehouses were later raided and looted by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protests which rocked the country in the month of October.



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