The Federal Government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster management and Social Development has said it received 6.4 million applications for its Npower Batch C programme.
Sadiya Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, disclosed this in Abuja at the ministry open house event/inauguration of Internally Displaced Persons Policy.
She said the ministry has now enrolled 510,000 applicants while another 490,000 are expected to come on board.
Farouq said, “The ministry successfully exited the 500,000 Batches A and B N-Power beneficiaries in 2020 and received about 6.4 million applications for Batch C.
“From Batches A and B, 109,823 beneficiaries have gone on to set up businesses in their communities, underlining and highlighting the impact and importance of the N-Power programme.
“Under Batch-C stream 1 there are 510,000 currently enrolled and benefitting from the programme, while an additional 490,000 will be enrolled following presidential approval to increase the number to one million.”
Speaking on the inauguration of the National Policy on IDP, Farouq explained that the Federal Executive Council approved the policy in September 2021.
“The process of developing and adoption of the policy commenced in 2001, within this period the initial draft of the policy have been reviewed severally to reflect new realities and emerging trends in humanitarian space in Nigeria,” Farouq stated.
She added, “This policy intends to provide a framework for national responsibility towards prevention and protection of citizens and, in some cases, non-citizens, from incidences of arbitrary and other forms of internal displacement.
“It will meet their assistance and protection needs during displacement, and ensure their rehabilitation, return, reintegration and relocation after displacement.”
$221m Spent By Nigerians on Foreign Education Between Dec 2021 & Feb 2022 – CBN Reveals
In the wake of incessant strike actions by academic and non-academic unions in Nigeria, Nigerians have found solace in studying abroad to get adequate education.
The Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), in a recent report, has now shown that Nigerians spent nothing less than $220.86m on foreign education in three months (between December 2021 and February 2022).
According to the CBN data on the amount spent on educational service under the sectoral utilisation for transactions valid for foreign exchange for December 2021 to February 2022, in December 2021, the bank spent $90.67m on foreign education. Later in January, it spent a total of $60,202,730.84 on foreign education, while a sum of $69.9m was spent in February 2022.
According to a report by Punch, the CBN has not yet published the amount it spent in March, April and May, but has noted that the amount it indicated in December 2021 and January 2022 “might be subject to change in future.”
“This data from the apex bank shows that Nigerians remitted more than $220m to foreign academic institutions in three months without a notable “reciprocity” in form of inflows from foreign sources to the local education sector,” Punch reported.
The huge net dollar outflows has a two-way effect on the countries economy – an underinvestment in domestic education and creating pressure on the naira exchange rate. This is as a result of high demands for dollars to pay foreign educational institutions which affects Nigeria’s foreign reserves and increases pressure on the exchange rate.
Investors King gathered that over 70 thousand Nigerians were studying abroad as of 2018, according to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation. This is the highest from an African country.
During an interview with the media, National President, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, said the failure of the government to adequately fund education in Nigeria has negatively impacted the sector.
“You go to tertiary institutions and you see dilapidated buildings, lecturers and students alike are not happy, students do not have access to good equipment for practicals, at the end of the day, the system continues to churn out half-baked graduates.
“The only solution to this is for the government to invest fully in the sector. If we operate world-class schools in the country, there will be no need for people to go to other countries to obtain a good education”, he said.
The Convener, Reform Education sector, Olubunmi Olusanmi also noted that there is a need for the government to speedily increase its investment in the education sector.
“Education is the bedrock of any nation, you cannot neglect that sector and say you want to focus on infrastructure. Nigerians go to other countries to avoid some of the drama that goes on in our local schools. Talks of strikes have been annual festivals and we have all seen it as normal.
“We cannot continue to go on like this. The truth is that many individuals who have the resources or who can struggle to get the resources will continue to go out and get better quality education. The government needs to do better.”
NCAA Alerts Airport Operators over Hazardous Weather, Calls For More Caution
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has called for more caution from pilots, airlines and airport operators, especially with regard to the hazardous weather prompted by the rainy season.
The Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards revealed this in an advisory document signed by the Director-General, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu.
Investors King recalls that NIMET had earlier predicted early March to be the start of the rainy season in the southern states, while April/May and June 2022 will be the start of the rainy season in the central and northern portions of Nigeria.
“Flight crews/operators and ATCs shall ensure strict adherence to aerodrome operating minima.
“Pilots shall exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET.
“Pilots /flight crew members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET aerodrome meteorological stations prior to flight operations”, the advisory noted.
The agency asked all parties to follow safety laws to the letter since infractions would be taken seriously, while travellers were urged to be patient and understanding, as their safety is more paramount.
Prior to this, Investors King earlier reported the projections of a fresh fuel crisis, following the revelation of a shortage in supply to the Nigerian Aviation by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC).
Investors King gathered that the product costs N598 per litre in Lagos, N642 in Kano, N640 in Kaduna, N627 in Abuja, N635 in Enugu and Anambra, and N628 in Port Harcourt as at Monday.
Also, airlines have already begun delaying flights and raising rates around the country as a result of the shortage.
Air Peace, Dana, and United Nigeria Airlines’ economy one-way fares from Lagos to Abuja, Owerri, Port Harcourt, and Asaba have climbed to between N55,000 and N70,000.
Air Peace, Azman, and Max Air fares from Lagos to Abuja, Kano, and Kaduna have increased from N50,000 to almost N65,000.
N-Power And Its Bitter-Sweet Experience
N-POWER was initiated to be a solution provider to curb the high rate of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria. However, so far, it has been a bitter-sweet experience for beneficiaries of the programme.
Investors King gathered that the monthly stipends of these beneficiaries are now unable to meet up with the economic situations in the country.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, under the Social Investment Programme (SIP) and through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, had said the programme was built to address the issues of youth unemployment and help increase social development, targeting youths between the ages of 18 and 35. Designed to be community-based, the exercise is to allow one million volunteers in different streams of batches.
Affirming this, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Faroug had said: “It is a well-known fact that N-Power programme is a critical part of the National Social Investment Programmes domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD) and designed to achieve the national objectives of poverty reduction and job creation”.
With the national minimum wage standing at N30, 000, N-Power beneficiaries are usually paid the sum of N30,000 monthly.
However, during the 2022 Worker’s Day celebration, Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki approved N40, 000 minimum wage for Edo state workers. The governor said the decision was to “cushion the hardship being experienced by the workers, particularly the effects of rising food prices.”
Investors King recalls that in the fourth quarter of 2015, prior to the commencement of the programme, unemployment rate in Nigeria was 12.1 per cent. However, in 2018, the rate rose to 14.23 per cent.
Currently, unemployment rate in Nigeria stands at 33.3 per cent while youth underemployment is at 42.5 per cent.
In 2021, Farouq stated that the Federal Government has approved an additional 400,000 youths have been approved for the Batch C1 programme. Since this announcement, beneficiaries have not been able to register for this Batch C2.
Several reasons have been responsible for this, from wrong deployment of Place of Primary Assignment (PPA) to delay in monthly payment.
N-POWER had severally apologised to beneficiaries over the non-payment of their stipends. It had earlier said on its official Facebook page that payment for Batch C1 have been initiated and crediting of accounts will begin, including outstanding payments.
But later, N-Power posted that network glitch was responsible for the subsequent delay.
“We did not intentionally redeployed N-power Batch C1 Beneficiaries, not at this point.
Therefore, the sudden CHANGE OF PPA and all PROCESSING PAYMENT recently changed to FAILED reading system error as encountered was as a result of NETWORK FAILURE.
“There is no cause for Alarm as our team are working to rectify it. Once that is done, your payment will be reinitiated. Please be patient,” N-Power said.
However, different reactions trailed this latest announcement. To many beneficiaries of the programme, a delay in the payment of their stipends amounts to delay for the Batch C 2 intakes.
One of the beneficiaries, SAYEDADAMADAMS said: “Why is it that the same network glitch did not fail and make their five-months paid into their accounts.”
Others lamented that the N30,000 stipend has not been able to sort their expenses due to the growing economic challenges in Nigeria.
One of the beneficiaries, Oluwafunmilayo Oluwatobi Adegun told BBC that the stipend is small, adding that the government is supposed to increase the stipend from N30, 000 as that the amount has not been able to solve anything in this country.
She said: “Many of the beneficiaries have families that depends on them to pay school fees.”
She further faulted government’s decision to disengage N-Power beneficiaries after their expiration of one year and advised that they should provide other engagements for beneficiaries.
“Government is supposed to put concrete plans in place so that the beneficiaries will not be stranded after the programme. N-Power without proper exit plan is meaningless,” she continued.
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