Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
The Federal Government will employ an additional 350,000 graduates in 2017.
The graduates will be employed by the N-Power Volunteer Corps, a component of the government’s Social Investment Programmes.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.
Akande said President Muhammadu Buhari had requested an appropriation of N157.75bn 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,” Akande said.
He explained further that under the N157.75bn also, a sum of N4.5bn had been earmarked for science, technology, engineering and mathematics programme to support young Nigerians in building skills in those disciplines.
Akande noted that the SIPs’ budget proposals for 2017 would be discussed this week at the National Assembly and urged Nigerians to expect more initiatives especially in the area of implementation as virtually all of the SIPs are now undergoing different stages of implementation.
“While we were able to engage 200,000 unemployed graduates last year, we will do 350,000 more this year,” he said.
He added that some of the teething problems were giving way to lessons that would enhance the implementation under the 2017 budget.
He also disclosed that about N75bn had been allocated for the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme in the 2017 budget.
He added that N112.2bn had been allocated to the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme aimed at providing interest-free loans to 1.2 million market men and women, artisans, youths and farmers.
Under the GEEP, he explained that beneficiaries would receive between N10,000 and N100,000 loans with a one-time five percent administrative fee.
He said over 20,000 Nigerians in 14 states had benefitted from GEEP under the 2016 budget.
He said the Conditional Cash Transfer which had started in nine states would be further expanded under the 2017 budget to reach more states.
Akande said, “The plan in 2016 budget targeted one million poorest and vulnerable Nigerians. And in the 2017 budget, an additional N54.98bn has been allocated for the continuation of the N5,000 monthly social safety net payments to the poorest Nigerians.
“2017 implementation of the SIPs 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 that more lives must be touched positively under these programmes which Nigerians have come to appreciate.” (Punchng.com)