Six Nigerian States Get 375m Naira For 10 Days Feeding Of School Pupils

School pupils feeding initiative
The government says 5.5 million pupils will benefit from the school pupils feeding initiative nationwide

The Nigerian government says it has released over 375 million Naira this year to feed almost 700,000 primary school pupils in five states, in the implementation of its Social Investment Programmes.

A statement by the Presidency said virtually all States of the federation, except two, are now being processed for the payment of 30,000 Naira monthly Stipends to 200,000 graduates, the N-Power Beneficiaries.

Giving a media update in Abuja on Sunday, the spokesman for the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, said the current administration’s Social Investment Programmes, (SIP), were proceeding at different stages of implementation.

According to him, regarding the Homegrown School Feeding Programme, the Federal Government last week released money for this year, to Anambra, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ebonyi sates to cover the feeding for 10 school days.

“The sum of about 375.434 million Naira has just been released and paid to 7,909 cooks in those States for the feeding of a total of 677,476 primary school pupils,” Mr Akande said, giving the breakdown.

Breakdown Of Distributed Funds

According to the breakdown, Ogun State got a total of 119.648 million Naira paid to 1,381 cooks to feed 170,927 pupils, Ebonyi State 115.218 million Naira paid to 1,466 cooks to feed 164,598 pupils while Anambra State got 67.5 million Naira paid to 937 cooks to feed 96,489 pupils.

Oyo State got 72.2 million Naira paid to 1,437 cooks to feed 103,269 pupils and Osun State got 867,370 Naira paid to 2,688 to feed 142,193 pupils.

He said all monies were paid directly to the cooks and cover 10 days of school.

Mr Akande further disclosed that those figures would go up later this week when Zamfara and Enugu States expected to be paid 188.7 million Naira and 67.2 million Naira respectively are added to the benefitting states.

In Zamfara, the sum would be paid to 2,738 cooks to feed 269,665 pupils and in Enugu, the sum would be paid to 1,128 cooks to feed 96,064 pupils.

By then, he noted, over 631 million Naira would have been released so far in 2017 for school feeding in seven States, paid to 11,775 cooks and meant to feed over One million primary school pupils-exact number of pupils by then would be 1,043,205.

On N-Power, Mr Akande stated that the process of payments of verified graduate  beneficiaries had advanced and at different stages of progress in all but two states, noting that more and more of such beneficiaries are posting their glad experiences of receiving alerts on the Social Media.

This means, according to him, that payment of the December Stipends which had gone across the country would be completed in all states except two that did not meet the extended deadline for the verification process for December stipends.

He further told reporters that the processing of January Stipends were also in advanced stages.

The Vice President’s spokesman also assured some beneficiaries who have issues to remain patient, while observing that quite a number of the beneficiaries had banking information irregularities. He said the payment of the unemployed graduates, which had created a huge buzz across the country especially on the Social Media, is being done in batches.

Regarding the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) payments of 5,000 Naira per month, he told reporters that it would continue in the nine pilot states of Bauchi, Borno, Niger, Kogi, Cross Rivers, Osun, Oyo Ekiti, and Kwara States.

“While payment challenges are being experienced with the banks in some of the States, beneficiaries continue to receive their stipends which is being paid for two months.

“A total sum of 10,000 Naira is being paid for the CCT beneficiaries to cover the months of December and January. The CCT payments would be done six times in a year, with a payment of 10,000 to cover two months,” Mr Akande added.

Presidency Warns Against Sales Of Social Investment Programmes’ Forms

N-power, OgunThe Presidency in Nigeria has asked citizens to turn-down any demand for money for forms of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programmes (SIP), saying none of the programmes attracts an application fee.

A spokesman for the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, warned against the ilelgal collection of fees on Sunday while giving a weekly media update on the SIP.

He said the government had received reports about instances where Nigerians were being asked to pay application fees for SIP forms.

“We want to make it clear that such action is illegal and could warrant criminal prosecution.

“Let us make this very clear: in order to benefit from N-Power, you don’t have to pay any application fees at all.

“The way to apply is to go online to the N-Power portal. But it is not open right now as we are still working on the 200,000 unemployed graduates already engaged,” Mr Akande explained.

Regarding the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), he also explained that there were no application forms or fees to be paid either.

He said: “We are using a Community-Based Targeting template of the World Bank and as we have explained this is the mode of identifying the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable”.

The Vice President’s spokesman observed that there were instances during the N-Power online application process when some leaders decided to gather information of their people and then upload them onto the N-Power Internet portal to meet the online application requirement.

“We don’t frown on such an effort as long as the information of the N-Power applicants are properly in-putted online. But we frown at anyone selling forms to Nigerians for this programmes,” he said.

On claims that some party agents have been involved in such illegal form sales, Mr Akande said “the rule affected everyone”.

“No one should sell forms for N-Power or any of the President’s Social Investment Programmes. That is exploitation and it is fraudulent.”

On the progress so far recorded on the CCT, Mr Akande said payment was now taking place in all the nine pilot states, adding that altogether FG has already made cash available to keep the payments going.

Akande said while the CCT payments have started in the pilot states, although not everyone in those states have been paid due to logistics and banking challenges. He disclosed that three banks Stanbic, Access and GTB have been very helpful in the process, including supporting the implementation of aspects of the CCT pro bono.

The Vice President’s spokesman also told reporters that the Homegrown School Feeding Programme would also proceed this week with the addition of five states who will now be getting FG funding to ensure that primary school pupils in those states start enjoying one hot meal a day.

Ogun, Oyo, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Osun states would be added added to Anambra where the school feeding programme kicked off last year, to increase the number of states where the programme is being implemented to six.

At least 5.5 million Nigerian primary school pupils would be fed for 200 school days under the free Homegrown School Feeding Programme, according to the 2016 Budget, which has an allocation of 93.1 billion Naira appropriated for the feeding scheme.

FG To Begin Recruitment Of 500,000 Unemployed Graduates

Yemi-OsinbajoThe Nigerian government says it will start taking applications online for positions in the 500,000 Direct Teacher Jobs Scheme, through an internet portal.

A statement by a spokesman for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, said that the portal, npower.gov.ng would be live on Saturday, June 11.

The presidency said applications are expected to start coming in on June 12, the beginning of next week and advised young unemployed Nigerians to visit the website and apply.

President Muhammadu Buhari in his May 29 Democracy Day broadcast to the nation, formally launched the unprecedented social investment programmes already provided for under the 2016 Appropriation by the administration.

The 500,000 Teacher Corps is one of the three direct job creation and training schemes that Nigerians can start applying for from Sunday, June 12.

N-Power Knowledge Scheme

Others are N-Power Knowledge which will train 25,000 Nigerians in the area of technology, and N-Power Build, which train another 75,000 in the areas of building services, construction, utilities, hospitality and catering, automotive vocations, aluminium and gas services.

All trainees would be paid for the duration of their training.

The N-Power Teacher Corps initiative, which will engage and train 500,000 young unemployed graduates, is a paid volunteer programme of a 2-year duration.

Under the initiative, unemployed Nigerians selected and trained will play teaching, instructional, and advisory roles in primary, and secondary schools, agricultural extension systems across the country, public health and community education-covering civic and adult education.

“Besides their monthly take home pay estimated at about 23,000 Naira the selected 500,000 graduates will also get computer devices that will contain information necessary for their specific engagement, as well as information for their continuous training and development. They get to keep the devices even after exiting from the program,” the statement read.

According to the plan of the Buhari administration, the N-Power Teacher Corps Programme is an invaluable opportunity for young Nigerians to make immense economic and social contributions to the nation while developing their skills.

It will also help to address the problems of inadequate teachers in public schools, the government believes.

Also, persons enlisted under the scheme will gain work experience and acquire key competencies through academic and non-academic capacity building programmes intended to improve their competitiveness in the workplace.

Their devices will come loaded with knowledge-oriented applications and software that will enable them acquire the skills and capacity.

The N-Power Knowledge Scheme is further separated into three aspects – Creative, Technology Software and Hardware. These three sub-divisions will train 25,000 young Nigerians in all.

The statement from the presidency further said that 5,000 of them would be trained in Animation, Graphic Design, Post-Production, Script-Writing. All of those are under the sub-division of N-Power Knowledge-creative category.

According to the Vice President, the N-Power Knowledge Scheme also has a technology category in two aspects: hardware and software. 10,000 Nigerians would be trained, and equipped in the area of software development, including web designers, and another 10,000 in hardware expertise including to repair, maintain and assemble mobile phones, tablets, computers and other devices.

The government said the N-Power Build category was designed, realising that the presence of a well-trained and highly skilled youth population in any economy had direct impact on entrepreneurship/wealth creation, which in turn leads to a decline in unemployment.

N-Power Build is therefore an accelerated training and certification (Skills to Job/Enterprise) programme that will engage and train 75,000 young unemployed Nigerians in order to build a new crop of skilled and highly competent workforce of technicians, artisans and service professionals.

The other schemes of the current administration is the ‘Social Investment Programmes’ which, according to the government, would be rolled out in coming weeks.

Under this category are the Conditional Cash Transfer that pays 5,000 Naira monthly to one million Nigerians, the Micro-Credit Scheme for more than 1.5 million Nigerians, the Home Grown School Feeding programme that will serve 5.5 million Nigerian pupils in primary school a free hot meal per day this year and the Education support grant programme for 100,000 tertiary students in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics and education.

2016 Budget: Presidency Gives Reasons For Social Investments Allocation

Muhammadu-Buhari on 2016 budgetThe Presidency in Nigeria has given the reason behind the allocation of 500 billion Naira estimate in the 2016 budget to social investments, saying it was necessitated by the need to pay attention on the common man and spend the resources of the country on the poor people.

In a statement on Sunday, the Senior Special Assistant-Media & Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, pointed out that at no time in the nation’s budgetary history had the Federal Government made a specific vote of such volume for social welfare.

“Even economic historians now say that not only is the half a trillion Naira vote unprecedented, but it is also the greatest service ever done to the Nigerian state and people by any federal government administration,” Akande claimed.

He further explained that the six social safety plans would reduce high levels of poverty and vulnerabilities while also increasing Nigeria’s Human Development Index on the global UN rankings.

“The President’s vision is to increase investments in human capital to guarantee security for all, employment and improved well-being of the people,” the Vice President’s media aide added.

He stated that the presidency was aware that past attempts to address poverty had suffered because of insufficient political will, presence of various UN-coordinated initiatives and poorly targeted beneficiaries among other factors, and was working to avoid the pitfalls.

Conditional Cash Transfer

The Senior Special Assistant further explained that for the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), where one million extremely poor Nigeria would receive 5000 Naira monthly in 2016, the money would be paid directly to the beneficiaries through a payment system that was being worked out.

He said World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation were collaborating with the presidency to develop an efficient payment system.

“All together, about 60 billion Naira has been estimated to be paid out to extremely poor Nigerians. And the implementation of the programme starts once the budget is passed.

“There would also be direct payment in the Homegrown School Feeding Programme.

“In the case of the CCT, those one million poor Nigerians would be paid directly, while in the case of the Homegrown School Feeding, the suppliers of the meals to the primary school pupils will also be paid directly by the Federal Government. There would be no middle agents involved, official or private,” Akande stated.

The media aide observed that the recipients of the CCT would meet the conditions of their children participating in immunisation and school enrolment and also boost the economy, as the money would boost consumer spending in the economy.

Regarding the Homegrown School Feeding programme, Mr Akande said that the Federal Government would start a pilot scheme in selected states once the budget was passed.

‘One-meal-a-day’

The one-meal-a-day programme is also being supported by the Imperial College in the UK through one of its agencies Partnership for Child Development.

According to Mr Akande, the Homegrown School Feeding will feed the children, help their learning significantly and also boost the local economy of the states and the local communities.

The Statement further said that the Buhari administration had four other social investment plans, including the 500,000 direct jobs, where unemployed graduates would be trained and hired to become volunteer teachers in their communities while looking for jobs in their chosen profession.

There is also a Youth Employment plan that would take 370,000 non-graduates youths through skills acquisition and vocational training programmes.

“Like the teaching jobs, the selection of beneficiaries for this scheme would be done on states and FCT basis, opened to all Nigerians of different shades.

“For small scale traders, artisans and market women, there is the Micro Credit scheme where one million Nigerians would get a one-time soft loan of 60,000 Naira each through the Bank of Industry,” the statement read.

A Free Education plan for students of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, where government will pay tuition for 100,000 students, is also part of the plan.