Following defense of the 2017 budget proposals before the National Assembly by Ministries and agencies, new details are emerging on the continuation of the Social Investment Programmes, (SIP) of the Buhari presidency, including a plan to hire 350,000 more unemployed graduates under the N-Power Volunteer Corps.
Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, in a statement on Sunday noted that President Buhari had requested appropriation of N157.75B in the 2017 budget estimates for the N-Power scheme.
“350,000 unemployed graduates more would be hired and trained, alongside 50,000 non-graduates youths to be engaged as artisans and in other creative ventures,” he said.
Under the N157.75B, a sum of N4.5B has been earmarked for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM program to support young Nigerians in building skills in those disciplines.
“While we were able to engage 200,000 unemployed graduates last year, we will do 350,000 more this year,” he assured, adding that some of the teething problems were giving way to lessons that would smoothen implementation under the 2017 budget.
Akande disclosed that about N75B had been allocated for the National Home-grown School Feeding Programme, which will provide one hot meal a day to 5 million primary school pupils.
He explained that this would be an improvement on how far the feeding programme had been implemented so far under the 2016 budget which has so far attained the feeding of about one million pupils.
Akande also stated that under the 2017 budget, a sum of N112.2B had been allocated for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme aimed at providing interest-free loans to up to 1.2million market men and women, traders, artisans, youths and farmers.
Under the GEEP, he explained that beneficiaries will receive between N10,000 and N100,000 loans with a one-time 5% administrative fee. Already under the 2016 budget, over 20,000 Nigerians in about 14 states and counting, have been benefiting from GEEP.
Similarly, the Conditional Cash Transfer which has kicked off in 9 states would be further expanded under the 2016 budget and will reach more states and much more Nigerians.
“The plan in 2016 budget targets one million poorest and vulnerable Nigerians. And in the 2017 budget an additional N54.98B has been allocated for the continuation of the N5000 monthly social safety net payments to the poorest Nigerians”, he said.
Akande further clarified that while President Muhammadu Buhari has further approved another N500B this year for all the social intervention programmes, N100B out of it has been allocated for the Family Homes Fund as already announced by the Ministry of Finance.
“2017 implementation of the SIP is going to be far more impactful than what we were able to do under the 2016 budget, so Nigerians should expect more this year, the resolve of the Buhari presidency is firm that more lives must be touched positively under this programmes which Nigerians have come to appreciate,” Akande concluded.