The Federal Government, on Tuesday provided further updates on its ongoing social investment programmes for which N41.714bn has been spent already implementing different aspects of the four Social Investment Programmes, with over one million beneficiaries, including 57,234 interest free loans to artisans and traders.
Of that amount, N-Power, the job programme for unemployed graduates has gulped N26.418bn, being the single largest spending item out of the four social investment programmes under the 2016 Appropriation; while National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, (SIP) received N7.092bn. Government Enterprises Entrepreneurship Programme (GEEP) received N7.301bn; followed N800m went into Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), apart from some other expenses.
According to a statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media & Publicity, about 25m meals have been served to pupils in primary schools seven states under the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, (SIP), of the Buhari administration.
A breakdown of the feeding programme showed that that 1,051, 619 million primary school pupils in 8,587 schools are now being fed across the seven states of Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, and Zamfara state, while about 11,847 cooks have also been employed. Altogether 8,587 schools are involved in those States.
The number of meals served is expected to rise this week as Delta and Abia States tap into the federal government school feeding scheme, with Delta alone expected to receive the sum of N63.366m for feeding of 90, 523 primary school pupils. Also, Abia State is also expected to receive N42.921m; while Kaduna State has now been repaid N3.4bn for its past expenses implementing the food programme ahead of FG’s roll-out.
Receiving the SIP Update Report, the Acting President noted the progress made under each of the programmes, but gave express and urgent directives that the programmes be promptly expanded in coverage so that more Nigerians can start to benefit.
A comprehensive SIP implementation analysis shows that every local government area, every State and the FCT have beneficiaries in one of the four programmes, while some states are already benefiting in more than one, Akande further explained.
“For instance, under the N-Power job scheme for unemployed graduates now running in 36 States and FCT, 162,024 unemployed graduates have been effectively enrolled and validated-meaning have been cleared to be receiving the N30,000 monthly stipends, out of the 200,000 originally engaged late last year.
“A vast majority of the validated beneficiaries have been receiving stipends as at 31st March, 2017. Indeed an additional number has just been added to the list of those receiving their pay in the last several weeks,” he added, while efforts are ongoing to validate others.
This is to ensure that the 200,000 places provided for in the first batch of the N-Power programme are all effectively validated as provided for under the first phase of the programme.
A date for the engagement of more N-power beneficiaries and the reopening of the portal to receive more applications would be announced soon.
A further breakdown of the scheme showed that 26,942 beneficiaries as at April have started receiving N5,000 monthly stipend under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme in 9 States and 84 Local Government Areas. The States are Borno, Cross River, Niger, Kwara, Ekiti, Kogi, Oyo, Osun and Bauchi.
Following the directive by the Acting President, the number of beneficiaries is expected to increase by about 400,000 beneficiaries (and in more States) in a couple of months.
Also noteworthy, the statement continued, are the loans disbursed to empower 57,234 market women, traders and artisans, among others, which are interest free, except for one-time low administrative fee, under the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
The programme designed “for well over one million Nigerians has now registered 3,162,451 people who have showed interest and are members of 26, 924 registered cooperatives for purposes of the loans. So far, women participation has been remarkable with 56% of loans so far disbursed to women beneficiaries in 28 States and FCT.
“Directives have also been given to scale up the loan disbursement to 150,000 by end of next month,” Akande added.