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The federal government on Saturday said it has concluded payment of April stipends to beneficiaries under the N-Power programme.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq, in a statement, also explained the reason for the delay in payment.

She said her ministry encountered problems with the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS). The release was not specific on the type of problem the ministry encountered.

The GIFMIS, launched in 2003, is an IT-based system being implemented by the federal government to enhance accountability and transparency in public finance management.

The minister’s comments came against the backdrop of enrollees clamouring for their April payment since the announcement of the lockdown in some states due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We encountered some delays on the GIFMIS platform but I can now announce that all N-Power beneficiaries from Batch A and B have been paid their April stipends,” the minister explained.

Streamlining scheme

Ms Farouq also disclosed plans by the ministry to streamline the entire programme for better efficiency as soon as it pays May stipend.

She added the action would also provide opportunities for other beneficiaries to enroll into the programme.

About 200,000 young beneficiaries selected in 2016, under Batch A, were to have been dropped out of the scheme after two years of internship.

There had been controversies between Ms Farouq and President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Social Investment, Maryam Uwais, about the exit package for the Batch A volunteers as each traded blame on who was responsible for the delay in disengaging the beneficiaries.

The minister had blamed the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), under Mrs Uwais for having no viable plan for the exit of the beneficiaries.

In reaction, Mrs Uwais said her administrators had made ‘exit plans’ which had not been implemented before the office was moved under the leadership of Ms Farouq. She also said she had briefed Mrs Farouq on those plans.

President Buhari in his Independence Day speech had announced the transfer of the NSIPs from the office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the newly-created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development .

“We are working hard to streamline the programme for greater efficiency and to provide opportunities for more Nigerian youths. Details will be provided as soon as May stipend has been paid.

“The beneficiaries were supposed to spend 24 months on the programme but Batch A beneficiaries have spent over 40 months thereby denying other Nigerians an opportunity to access the programme and gain skills for entrepreneurship and employment,” Mrs Farouq said.

N-Power

The N-Power Programme was inaugurated by President Buhari in 2016 to reduce poverty, unemployment and social insecurity among Nigerians.

It involves the deployment of thousands of unemployed graduates to schools and other institutions to work there while the government pays them a stipend of N30,000 monthly.

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