The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, says no fewer than 109,823 beneficiaries of the N-Power Programme are now business owners.
Farouq, in a statement on Saturday in Abuja by her Special Assistant on Strategic Communication, Mrs Halima Oyelade, said the beneficiaries of Batch A and B of N-Power have established businesses in their communities.
“Statistics like this gives me joy and once again, I want to say congratulations; I look forward to hearing amazing testimonies and meeting beneficiaries of this programme who will be doing great things in the future”.
The minister reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years by creating opportunities to enhance the productivity of Nigerian youths for entrepreneurship or employment.
Farouq stressed that the vision was imperative because youths represented 70 million of the Nigerian Population while youth unemployment stood at over 20 per cent with 4.5 million entering the job market annually.
“Thus, the need to find ways to engage them is of utmost importance.
“However, the commencement of the enrolment of Batch C was predicated on the need to give more Nigerian youths the opportunity to benefit.
“This is because, keeping only 500,000 beneficiaries for four years defeats the purpose of Mr President’s vision, hence the need to scale up and was in no way meant to be punitive,” she said.
Farouq thanked the beneficiaries while acknowledging the contributions and efforts of those who commenced the programme before it was transferred to the ministry.
She noted that it was a collective team effort and would continue to be so.
‘’You are our model N-Power beneficiaries. Please avail yourselves of all opportunities provided by the government like interest-free loans and leverage on those opportunities while using N-Power as a stepping stone”.
The minister said challenges facing the programme include delays in the payment of stipends, beneficiaries not showing up at their places of primary assignments and people accessing the programme while gainfully employed elsewhere.
“However, we are frantically working to resolve them”.
The minister also assured beneficiaries that outstanding payments would be made and transition plans were ongoing and would be duly communicated to them on their platform.
Also, according to the statement, some of the beneficiaries of the programme gave glowing testimonials.
It said Ms Angela Nabu, a graduate of Agriculture from Ladoke Akintola University, was enrolled into the programme without knowing anyone or connected to anyone.
‘I gained practical experience working with the Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme, Ilaro Zone.
“I was able to save some money from the stipends to start my own fish farm.
“Today I have 12 ponds. I have people working for me and I have trained one IT student and I am willing to train more,” Nabu said.
Similarly, Mr Saddiq Mustapha, a beneficiary from Katsina State and graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, said he was idle after his one year mandatory National Youth Service to the nation.
“By virtue of the experience gained and training in video production and editing, I was able to set up a multimedia company and run the largest online media business in the state with thousands of followers,” he said.
Mr Ali Dapil from Plateau, living with disability, said he had gone through a lot of discrimination.
However, he applied for N- Teach and was sent to Gindiri as his Primary place of Assignment. He was also provided a device to aid him.
They all expressed their gratitude to the Federal Government for the opportunity. (NAN)