By Yinka Kolawole
The Federal Government plans to expand the N-Power scheme to accommodate one million beneficiaries soon, making it the largest post-graduate job scheme in Africa.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, stated this on Tuesday at a Town Hall meeting in Abuja.
This according to him is consequent upon the successes recorded so far in the programme and the growing need for government’s direct intervention in job creation
In a statement by Laolu Akande, his media aide, Osinbajo stated: “The idea of N-Power is supposed to be government’s own programme of direct employment and training. At the moment, we have taken up to 500,000 and in the next phase we are looking at another 200,000 and closely followed by another 300,000.
“In all, we will be employing up to a million, and that will be the largest post-tertiary job programme in the entire Africa. The reason why we have done this is because of the employment problems that we have, we may not be able to engage everybody but at least government must give some direct provision of jobs.”
The Vice President explained further that though government could not pay more than the N30,000 currently paid to beneficiaries and also fix all the unemployment issues, it is working on creating the enabling environment to ensure that beneficiaries as well as other unemployed Nigerians become useful to themselves.
He said: “It is infrastructure that will create the opportunities to provide more jobs, especially through manufacturing and Industry. “So, we are doing roads and rail, providing power; that is the way we can develop industry. We are energizing our markets at the moment, putting solar power in the markets. We have designated 300 markets, we have done Ariaria in the South East, Sabon Gari in Kano, Surat in Lagos, Isikan in Ondo, Gbagi in Oyo and we are expanding so that more people can work.”
On the need to engage more women in productive activities, Osinbajo said: “one of the ways the Buhari administration is engaging more women is through our GEEP loans.
“56 percent of our GEEP loans go to the women. So there is a lot of preferential advantage that we give to women and this is because women are effective managers of resources; they pay back these loans when they are given.”