Indications have emerged showing that the social empowerment programme of the federal government known as N-Power which commenced online recruitment process of graduates across the country mid last week may get applications beyond the carrying capacity of the budget for the scheme after all.
Currently, the Federal Government is spending N6billion on stipends to current beneficiaries every month and it was not clear if the government may sustain the scheme considering the rising volume of applicants.
This is coming on the heels of the revelation weekend that no fewer than 290,000 applications hit the N-Power job portal on Friday, just three days after the portal was opened. The current recruitment is just for 300,000, but in three days, over 97 per cent had registered meaning that by end of this week, the system may exceed one million mark.
Besides, the House of Representatives is kicking that it was not carried along in the implementation of the Social empowerment scheme. The House Committee chairman on Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Wudil Ali argued that for not carrying the national Assembly along, the legislature will not find it easy to honour bills that tend to raise funds for the programme.
Business Hilights recalls that the programme designed to reduce unemployment is currently recruiting 300,000 graduates in teaching, agriculture, healthcare and tax collection.
A statement by the Secretary, JTB, M L Abubakar, said the programme is available for people within the age of 18-35 years and will cover a period of two years. N-Power and the desire to diversify the nation’s economy warranted the introduction of Community Tax Liaison Officers (CTLOs) for the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), a new field of the programme meant to optimize government revenue at all level.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation, Mr. Afolabi Imoukhuede, hinted during an interactive session with the first batch of the scheme’s beneficiaries in Edo at the Urhokpota Hall, Benin City that 200,000 graduates are already participating in the scheme while the next batch of 300,000 will be engaged from the new applicants.
He said “The recruitment portal opened on Wednesday last week and 290,000 applications have entered as at Friday morning. The next recruitment will be very competitive.
“If we do validation of data and any applicant fails at the point of recruitment he or she has lost the chance,’’ he said.
However, Imoukhuede expressed displeasure with the wave of wrong data fed into the portal by graduate applicants and said such problems were discouraging.
He was quick to inform Edo volunteers that while the scheme was making efforts to assist them to validate their entries, it would not do same for the next batch of recruits.