The Federal Government, on Sunday, provided more reasons why it decided to suspend the N-Power programme, stating that the scheme had ghost beneficiaries, while some of its consultants were currently withholding participants’ funds.
Sunday PUNCH reported that over one million Nigerians had lost their jobs under the N-Power programme following the indefinite suspension of the scheme by the government as announced on Saturday by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu.
The N-Power programme was established by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari to address youth unemployment as beneficiaries were paid N30,000 monthly stipend.
Providing additional reasons why the scheme was suspended, the National Programme Manager N-Power, Akindele Egbuwalo, stated on Sunday that the scheme had ghost workers that should be eliminated.
On concerns about consultants of the scheme, he said, “Preliminary findings of our audit have shown that some consultants are holding on to beneficiaries’ funds disbursed to them long ago even when their contract ended in March 2023 without any renewal.
“We condemn this practice and will not tolerate it going forward. Work is ongoing to identify those involved, understand why the payments didn’t get to the final beneficiaries, and recall the funds to pay those owed.
“We appeal to Nigerians to understand the rationale behind the temporary suspension and investigation of the programme as we work to restore the nation’s confidence in the programme and for the new N-Power to serve Nigerians better. Things have to be properly done for us to move forward.”
Egbuwalo said the ongoing restructuring and transformation would also birth an expanded programme to reach beneficiaries aged 18-40 (the previous age limit was 35).