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Indications have emerged that the Federal Government is spending N6 billion monthly for the payment of graduates engaged under the N-power Volunteer Corps programme.

A total of 200,000 youths have been engaged under the scheme and are being paid a stipend of N30,000 monthly. New Telegraph gathered that out of the 200,000 graduates; about 150,000 who have been physically verified are being paid the allowances.

The Federal Government commenced payment of the allowances in December 2016 and has paid up to February this year.

The remaining 50,000 youths are yet to be cleared for payment due to irregularities in the bio-data, and inappropriate bank details that do not match their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN).

Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President,Laolu Akande, confirmed that 149,669 volunteer graduates are now receiving N30, 000 monthly as allowances from the programme.

So far, the Federal Government has spent N13,470,210,000 in the payment of verified 149,669 graduates in the last three months.

He said process for the replacement of those who did not show up and those disqualified during verification would also resume shortly to complete 200,000 which is the target number in the first batch of the 500,000 employment promised by President Buhari.

Akande explained that as at December last year, about 112,475 of the NPower graduate benefited from the N30,000 monthly stipends while the number increased to 150,000 both in January and February.

The N-Power is designed to accommodate university, polytechnics and colleges of education graduates only. Our correspondent gathered that the scheme, which is one of the Social Intervention Programme (SIPs) of the Federal Government, is designed to employ not less than 350,000 graduates in 2017.

President Muhammadu Buhari has requested a total of N157.75 billion in the 2017 appropriation bill currently before the National Assembly for the implementation of the N-Power scheme.

According to Akande, the Federal Government has also approved an additional N4,500 monthly allowance to all the 200,000 N-Power beneficiaries for the purchase an electronic tablet.

The tablets, he explained, will be loaded with different applications that would further enhance the skills of beneficiaries and afford them further training opportunities during the two-year duration of the job programme.

This tablet grant is being provided in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BoI). Under the Tablet Provi-sion Programme, the BoI has extended an asset finance of 20 months to each of the 200,000 N-Power beneficiaries.

“While each of the beneficiaries, after being verified, would select their choice of tablet amongst nine different BoI preapproved vendors, the price ranges from N3,000 to N6,700,” Akande noted.

The vice presidential spokesman said almost 100,000 graduate N-Power beneficiaries have completed orders for the device.

Government plans to conduct the order and distribution of the devices in two batches of 100,000 each. Beneficiaries are expected to repay for the devices over a period of 20 months.

New Telegraph Newspaper

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