The Federal Government, on Sunday, said implementation of the 2017 budget now under consideration by the National Assembly, ahead of its passage, could generate as many as 350,000 more fresh graduate jobs under its N-Power Volunteer Corps under the Social Investment Programmes, (SIP).
“The 350,000 unemployed graduates more to be hired and trained, alongside 50,000 non-graduates youths to be engaged as artisans and in other creative ventures,” according Senior Special Assiatant on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, said in a statement that President Muhammadu Buhari requested appropriation of N157.75B in the 2017 budget estimates for the N-Power scheme.
Akande assured in his weekly update on the SIP that a lot more is to come, especially this year, urging Nigerians to actively come out and take advantage of the different schemes this year.
A breakdown of the N157.75 billion shows that N4.5bn has been earmarked for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM programme to support young Nigerians in building skills in those disciplines.
Akande further noted that the SIP budget proposals for 2017 are currently being discussed this week at the National Assembly, and urged Nigerians to expect more this year especially in the area of implementation as virtually all of the SIPs are now undergoing different stages of implementation.
“While we were able to engage 200,000 unemployed graduates last year, we will do 350,000 more this year,” he assured, adding that some of the teething problems are giving way to lessons that would smoothen implementation under the 2017 budget.
Equally, in the 2017 budget proposals under consideration, Akande said about N75 billion has been allocated for the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, which will provide one hot meal a day to five million primary school pupils. He explained again, that this would certainly be an improvement on how far the feeding programme has been implemented so far under the 2016 budget which has so far attained the feeding of about one million pupils.
Also under the 2017 budget, he continued, the sum of N112.2 billion has been allocated for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme aimed at providing interest-free loans to up to 1.2million market men and women, traders, artisans, youths and farmers.
The GEEP beneficiaries will receive between N10,000 and N100,000 loans with a one-time 5% administrative fee. Already under the 2016 budget, over 20,000 Nigerians in about 14 states and counting, have been benefiting from GEEP.
Similarly, the Conditional Cash Transfer which has kicked off in 9 states would be further expanded under the 2016 budget and will reach more states and much more Nigerians. The plan in 2016 budget targets one million poorest and vulnerable Nigerians. And in the 2017 budget an additional N54.98B has been allocated for the continuation of the N5000 monthly social safety net payments to the poorest Nigerians.