By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The federal government has announced plans to hire 350,000 more unemployed graduates under the N-Power Volunteer Corps.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Acting President, Mr. Laolu Akande, said President Muhammadu Buhari has requested appropriation of N157.75 billion in the 2017 budget estimates for the N-Power scheme.
The N-Power is one of the many Social Investments Programme (SIPs) of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s organisation.
Akande urged Nigerians to actively come out and take advantage of the different schemes.
He said: ”Out of the N-Power N157 billion in the 2017 budget, 350,000 unemployed graduates more would be hired and trained, alongside 50,000 non-graduates youths to be engaged as artisans and in other creative ventures.”
He explained that under the N157.75 billion, a sum of N4.5 billion has been earmarked for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, (STEM) programme to support young Nigerians in building skills in those disciplines.
Akande who welcomed the great public enthusiasm the programmes had so far generated, noted that the SIP budget proposals for 2017 would be discussed this week at the National Assembly.
He urged Nigerians to expect more this year especially in the area of implementation adding that, “ virtually all of the SIPs are now undergoing different stages of implementation.
“While we were able to engage 200,000 unemployed graduates last year, we will do 350,000 more this year,” he added.
Under the 2017 budget proposals now before the National Assembly, Akande disclosed that about N75 billion has been allocated for the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, which he said would provide one hot meal a day to five million primary school pupils.
The Spokesperson to the Acting President also stated that under the 2017 budget a sum of N112.2 billion had been allocated for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme aimed at providing interest-free loans to up to 1.2million market men and women, traders, artisans, youths and farmers.
Under the GEEP, he explained that beneficiaries would receive between N10,000 and N100,000 loans with a one-time 5 per cent administrative fee.
He said that under the 2016 budget, over 20,000 Nigerians in about 14 states and counting, had been benefiting from GEEP.
Akande also said that Conditional Cash Transfer which has kicked off in nine states would be further expanded under the 2016 budget and would reach more states and much more Nigerians.
He said: “The plan in 2016 budget targets one million poorest and vulnerable Nigerians. And in the 2017 budget an additional N54.98 billion has been allocated for the continuation of the N5,000 monthly social safety net payments to the poorest Nigerians.”
Akande further clarified that while Buhari had further approved another N500 billion this year for all the social intervention programmes, N100 billion out of it had been allocated for the Family Homes Fund as already announced by the Ministry of Finance.
“2017 implementation of the SIP is going to be far more impactful than what we were able to do under the 2016 budget, so Nigerians should expect more this year, the resolve of the Buhari presidency is firm that more lives must be touched positively under this programmes which Nigerians have come to appreciate,” Akande concluded.