By Ebitonye Akpodigha
During the campaigns ahead of the 2015 general elections, the All Progressives Congress (APC) reportedly promised to pay N5,000 monthly to poor Nigerians. This was hailed by many and caused the party to be massively voted for by the electorates.
However, nearly two years after gaining power, Nigerians have continued to ask when that campaign promise would be fulfilled.
Almost a year ago, November 2015 to be precise, the Deputy Senate President, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, reminded President Muhammadu Buhari of his campaign promises to Nigerians, including the N5000 monthly pay to unemployed youths in the country.
“The ruling APC government must fulfil their campaign promise of paying unemployed Nigerians a sum of 5000 Naira monthly,” he had said on the floor of the Senate Chambers during plenary.
But that promise is about to be fulfilled as the Federal Government has released the sum of N65 billion to address that (monthly stipend) and other National Social Investment Programmes it promised, including the school feeding programme and jobs for unemployed graduates.
Addressing newsmen on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said the N65 billion was part of the N150 billion approved by the steering committee of the programme.
The Minister pointed out that for now, N25 billion has already been released for these programmes, while “another N40 billion was in the process of being released into the account.”
Speaking on the N5,000 monthly stipend, Mrs Ahmed said the money would be paid to extremely poor and vulnerable in Nigeria and would be for two years.
She explained that this is under the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme of the National Social Investment Programme of the government.
“Focus has been given to the extremely poor and vulnerable in our society and special emphasis is being placed to providing as many as possible in the North Eastern part of the country where a lot of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the Minister said.
One the school feeding programme, which is another phase of the scheme, Mrs Ahmed told newsmen that, “The School Feeding Programme has started in some states like Kaduna and Osun. The Federal Government is only adding its resources to it.
“The Federal Government will handle from primary 1 to 3 while the states will handle from 4 to 6.
According to her, the school feeding Programme will target 5.5 million primary school people in all the states of the federation from primary 1-3.
She added that 11 states were set to fully start the scheme which would involve feeding 3.5 million school children.
Also, the Minister said the job creation programme aims at training 500,000 university graduates, who would be deployed to work in their local communities as teachers, agriculture workers and health support workers.
She said the graduands would be receiving a monthly stipend of N30,000 for a period of two years.
Mrs Ahmed disclosed further that for the Enterprise Promotion Programme, which is essentially the loan scheme to be handled by the Bank of Industry, 1.66 million people, made up of market women, traders, artisans, small businesses and youths, they would be given loan from N10,000 to N100,000.
She said the repayment period of the loans would be three to six months with administration cost of five percent.
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