The Federal Government on Sunday said it spent N360 billion in two years to pay 500,000 graduates under its N-Power scheme.
The government said the payments started in 2016 with graduates employed under the scheme getting N30,000 monthly stipends.
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Social Investment Programmes, Ismaeel Ahmed, stated this in Abuja when he addressed reporters on the side-lines of an entrepreneurship show organised by Azuatalam Better Life Foundation.
He said: “Through the N-Power programme, 500,000 graduates have been employed and are paid N30,000 every month. If you calculate that for the two years that they have been there, because it has been on since 2016, you will understand how much we’ve invested.
“We have given 622,000 people N5,000 each, and these are the poorest of the poor who do not have any collateral to go to the bank to collect loans.”
Ahmed praised the TraderMoni scheme of the Federal Government, saying it had impacted millions of small businesses across the country.
The presidential aide said the government had not slowed down the process, adding that funds were being released to boost various schemes.
He lauded the initiative of the Azuatalam Foundation.
“We have given 2.2 million people N10,000 each through our TraderMoni policy. These are people who have small businesses that may need between N1,000, N2,000 or more to be able to move from Point A to Point B.
“We have given 522,000 people N50,000 and above as MarketMoni. We are also feeding 9.9 million children in 7,000 schools in 33 states.
“There is N400 billion estimated in our budget for 2020 before the National Assembly and we hope they are going to pass it. So, we are looking for a more robust engagement next year,” he said.
On the foundation’s initiative, Ahmed said: “It is a wonderful opportunity for young people to get engaged and to participate in the process, as opposed to some reality TV shows that only promote fun and entertainment.”
The Executive Director, Finance and Investment, Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), who doubles as Chairman of Azuatalam Better Life Foundation, Jasper Azuatalam, said the ABLF would help young citizens to grow their businesses by providing financial support to successful contestants.
“This foundation aims to make our young people realise that they can succeed in life through legitimate means and businesses. We are ready to support and help grow a lot of ventures in this programme,” he said