Demands by exiting N-Power beneficiaries for perpetual payment of stipend as well as N600,000 for each of them was never part of the agreement they entered into with the federal government and are therefore illegitimate.
The Hon. Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq stated this while reacting to a rally organised by representatives of exiting N-Power beneficiaries which took place at the National Assembly and later proceeded to the Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja on Thursday.
She said there was no time the Federal Government planned to pay stipend for N-Power beneficiaries throughout their lives as other Nigerians are entitled to be keyed into the programme within specified period.
In a statement she personally signed which was sent to ALSC, the Minister said the demand that all the 500,000 exiting beneficiaries be captured in the on-going registration of new beneficiaries as well as payment N600,000 to each of them which amounts to N300 Billion is unrealistic because the agreement with government stated clear that they would exit after two years.
She however assured that measures are ongoing to ensure that any outstanding stipend is paid to the beneficiaries.
She says- “Furthermore, the government cannot afford the N300 billion they were asking for as a grant.
“It is noteworthy to state that the FGN has expended hundreds of billions to N-POWER beneficiaries during the last 4 years and is liaising with the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, which is responsible for the payment of their stipends, to ensure that any outstanding legitimate claim is settled.
“The FG cannot afford to continue to pay the exited N-POWER beneficiaries stipends indefinitely, more so that the process of engagement of new beneficiaries has already begun.
“The Ministry even though it is not a lending agency is in contact with other Ministry’s, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) such as CBN and NALDA, to see if the exiting beneficiaries can key into their empowerment programmes.