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FG set to reopen N-Power portal, projects 400,000 new beneficiaries

The Nigerian federal government’s social investment programme scheme will, on June 26, reopen its online portal for unemployed graduates in the country to apply for the next batch (Batch C) of its empowerment scheme, popularly known as N-Power.

This new recruitment exercise makes it the third since the inception of the scheme in 2016.

In 2018 the scheme increased its intake by 50% creating a total of 500,000 beneficiaries.

Last week, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development said the first two batches will be disengaged on June 30th and July 31st, respectively.

The process for the new engagement was revealed in a tweet published on the N-Power Twitter account on Monday stating that about 400,000 beneficiaries will be engaged during the batch C recruitment exercise.

“This week, the N-Power portal will re-open for registration. 400,000 beneficiaries will be taken from the application pool,” the tweet reads.

Meanwhile, the government action regarding the disengagement of the early batches subsequently attracted many backlashes from the members of the public. An earlier report by Daily Post online newspaper reveals the discontentment of the beneficiaries. Under the aegis of the 36 States and FCT N-Power Representatives Forum, the beneficiaries had alleged in a statement sent to the newspaper that they were short-changed by the coordinators of the scheme. In line with their grievances, the successive comments that follow the Monday tweet also give the impression that the majority of the beneficiaries consider the government action as a gross inconsideration to their plights considering the state of the economy currently in the country, especially amidst the current global pandemic. To many, the monthly stipend remains the only source of living for the disengaged beneficiaries, especially during this time.

The last unemployment rate in the country released in 2018 by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics shows that 23.1% of employable youths are currently in the labour market. The Federal Government had also in the wake of the NBS data released, projected an upsurge of the rate to 33.5%.

Chris Ngige, the Labour Minister said the data released was a ‘worrisome status’ in view of many challenges facing the country. It is, however, unclear if this new unemployment projection by the FG has taken care of the disengaged N-power beneficiaries.

“It is a worrisome status as the global poverty capital (World Bank, 2018); and concomitant high prevalence rate of crimes and criminality, including mass murders, insurgency, militancy, armed robbery, kidnappings and drug abuse, among others.

“As if this situation is not scary enough, it is projected that the unemployment rate for this country will reach 33.5 per cent by 2020, with consequences that are better imagined, if the trend is not urgently reversed.

“It is a thing of joy to note that Nigeria has not been resting on her oars over the years in terms of dedicated efforts to curb the unemployment problem,” Ngige had said last year.

The Nigerian Social Investment Programme, N-Power was established in 2016 as part of the current government’s efforts to reduce the rate of unemployed graduates in the country by engaging them in special duties ranging from teaching, agriculture activities and vocational training. The stipend for this engagement is 30,000 monthly.

A check on the N-Power website shows that the site has been dormant since 2017 as there has not been any new update even to the recent developments in the scheme.

Regardless, in the upcoming exercise, the body in the same tweet tipped the intending beneficiaries on what they are expected to possess. According to the tweet, the intending applicant should get their Biometric Verification Number (BVN) and they must ensure they are not on any payroll as at the time of their application.

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