The Minister of Humanitarian Services, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, Thursday said about 300,000 N-power exited beneficiaries would get loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria to start their businesses after vocational training.
She stated this in Abuja yesterday at the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Media Team.
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She said: “We’ve an exit strategy, which we partner with the Central Bank of Nigeria. And out of this 500,000, about 300,000 indicated interest to be put on an exit programme where you can be trained on different skills, skills of their choice and they’ll be given loans by the Central Bank of Nigeria for them to start their businesses.
“This we’ve gone far. We’re in the process of training those that have indicated interest. And I’m sure before the end of this quarter, these people will be given these loans by the CBN.
“About 109,000 of the N-power beneficiaries have become entrepreneurs. They’re now employers of labour and we’ve evidence of that which can be provided to you.”
The minister said it is elitist to say the government’s N5,000 monthly national cash transfer cannot put the poor and vulnerable out of poverty.
She was reacting to a question on the relevance of the cash transfer initiative to the administration’s plan to save 100 million Nigerians from extreme poverty.
She said the intervention might not however be suitable for some class of Nigerians using N5,000 to recharge their phones.
“If you look at the people that you’re taking this intervention to, N5,000 means a lot to them because these are poor and vulnerable households and it changes their status, but for you and me, N5,000 is not even enough for us to buy recharge card, that’s the difference.
“When people say N5,000 does not save people, that’s an elitist statement, honestly because we’ve had causes to go to the field, and we’ve seen these people that when you give them this N5,000, they cried and shed tears because they’ve never seen N5,000 in their lives. So, it goes a long way, it changes their status and by that, it lifts them from one stage to another,” she said.
She said the North East insurgency and other crises around Nigeria had given rise to the need for more humanitarian assistance.
Coordinator, National Social Investment Programme, Umar Bindir, said a survey in some southern states had shown that the menace of out-of-school children was a national problem.
He was reacting to a question on whether the government’s school feeding programme had impacted positively on the country by reducing the number of out-of-school children.
“Some people here, if you talk about out-of-school children, they think you’re talking about almajiri in the North. Some people think it’s actually religious or a Muslim thing. But I can tell you in this programme, we’ve established it as a national issue.
“We sent a team to Lagos. They went to Mokoko, they met 7,000 out-of-school children picking things from the dirt. The guy came shaking. We sent another chap to Jos, he came shaking also. We sent another guy to Enugu, and for the first time, everybody realized that out-of-school children is a national problem.”