According to reports, the Presidency has announced that the selection process for the first batch of 200,000 Nigerians to be engaged in the N-Power process has been completed.
The Senior Special Assistant to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said in a release that the applicants’ official engagement was awaiting the completion of Bank Verification Number clearance.
According to Akande, the verification is to ensure that the beneficiaries are paid directly, adding that no fewer than 500,000 Nigerians would be engaged in the job-creation scheme.
He said the first selection was done by Presidency officials in collaboration with Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Health and other government agencies.
He added that foreign consultants were neither used nor needed.
Akande said that three criteria were used for the selection of the 200,000.
He said 40 per cent was selected based on the number of applications per state, a special mark-up was made for the six states of the North East and a discretionary addition for states with low numbers of applicants.
He said the Buhari Social Investment scheme differed from the defunct SURE-P in many ways, including the elimination of errors identified in SURE-P.
According to Akande, the Presidency conceived the Social Investments Programmes as a means to effectively and efficiently touch the lives of Nigerians, especially the unemployed and the poorest.
He said: “We have designed a full-proof process that will ensure that the goods are delivered.
“There would not be any middle-men and the payments to be made to the N-Power candidates, the monthly N5,000 to the poorest and most vulnerable among others would be paid directly to them.”
The Vice Presidential spokesman noted the high level of enthusiasm shown in the social investment programme from every state of the federation.
He added that the use of online method of application was to also avoid the awkward method of recruitment in the past that had resulted in deaths and injury to many applicants.
Akande, however, added that only the job application segment of the social investment scheme was subjected to online application, while the remaining aspects were not treated as such.
“There are no online applications required for those set of Nigerians for whom the monthly N5,000 Conditional Cash Transfer of the Buhari Social Investment programmes are designed for,” he said.
He urged Nigerians to disregard social media reports on alleged mismanagement of the N500 billion Social Intervention Funds.
According to Akande, the Presidency understands the need for an ongoing public discussion of this unprecedented budgetary allocation in favour of the Nigerian people, especially the poorest and the most vulnerable.
He, however, noted that it was “not correct to claim any form of mismanagement or marginalisation whatsoever”.
He added: “There has not been any disbursement from the allocated fund not to talk of any kind of mismanagement at all.
“While it is true that funds are being released for the social investment programmes, it is rather preposterous for now to say there is no evidence where the funds have gone to.
“As an administration noted for its transparency, we intend to fully keep Nigerians posted of all financial expenditure in line with extant laws of the country.”
The spokesperson explained that “of the series of social investment programmes we have outlined, only the job creation scheme-N-Power requires an online registration from unemployed graduates and non-graduate youths”.
He noted that the Conditional Cash Transfer, which would pay N5000 monthly to the most vulnerable and the poorest Nigerians, a total of one million in the first year, “no online registration of any kind is required”.