The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, says no fewer than 109,823 beneficiaries of the N-Power Programme are now business owners.
Farouq, in a statement on Saturday in Abuja by her Special Assistant on Strategic Communication, Mrs Halima Oyelade, said the beneficiaries of Batch A and B of N-Power have established businesses in their communities.
“Statistics like this gives me joy and once again, I want to say congratulations; I look forward to hearing amazing testimonies and meeting beneficiaries of this programme who will be doing great things in the future”.
The minister reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years by creating opportunities to enhance the productivity of Nigerian youths for entrepreneurship or employment.
Farouq stressed that the vision was imperative because youths represented 70 million of the Nigerian Population while youth unemployment stood at over 20 per cent with 4.5 million entering the job market annually.
“Thus, the need to find ways to engage them is of utmost importance.
“However, the commencement of the enrolment of Batch C was predicated on the need to give more Nigerian youths the opportunity to benefit.
“This is because, keeping only 500,000 beneficiaries for four years defeats the purpose of Mr President’s vision, hence the need to scale up and was in no way meant to be punitive,” she said.
Farouq thanked the beneficiaries while acknowledging the contributions and efforts of those who commenced the programme before it was transferred to the ministry.
She noted that it was a collective team effort and would continue to be so.
‘’You are our model N-Power beneficiaries. Please avail yourselves of all opportunities provided by government like interest free loans and leverage on those opportunities while using N-Power as a stepping stone”.
The minister said challenges facing the programme include delays in the payment of stipends, beneficiaries not showing up at their places of primary assignments and people accessing the programme while gainfully employed elsewhere.
“However, we are frantically working to resolve them”.