We Can’t Afford N300bn Npower Beneficiaries Demands – Minister: The Federal Government on Friday said N-Power beneficiaries were demanding a cumulative grant of N300bn.
It, however, made it clear to the beneficiaries of the scheme that government cannot afford to make such amount available as grant.
The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development said it observed that there was a rally at the National Assembly on Thursday by some N-Power beneficiaries.
It said the rally later proceeded to the Federal Secretariat Complex in Abuja, as the protesters claimed to be representatives of the Federal Government’s N-Power beneficiaries who were about to be exited.
The ministry’s Deputy Director, Press, Rhoda Iliya, said in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday that the protesters requested the Federal Government to employ all the 500,000 N-Power beneficiaries as well as pay them a grant of N600,000 each.
She said, “The ministry wishes to state that this demand was not part of the agreement of engagement they signed with the Federal Government, which clearly stipulated that they will be exited after two years.
“Furthermore, the government cannot afford the N300bn they were asking for as grant.”
The ministry said it was noteworthy to state that the Federal Government had expended hundreds of billions on N-Power beneficiaries during the last four years.
It stated that the ministry was currently liaising with the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, the agency responsible for the payment of N-Power beneficiaries’ stipends, to ensure that any outstanding legitimate claim was settled.
It insisted that the Federal Government could not afford to continue to pay the exited N-Power beneficiaries stipends indefinitely, more so that the process of engagement of new beneficiaries had already commenced.
The ministry argued that even though it was not a lending agency, it was contacting other ministries, departments and agencies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria to see if the exited beneficiaries could key into their empowerment programmes.