By Ugochukwu Alaribe
UMUAHIA-The Federal Government has been urged to jettison its proposal to disengage the N-Power beneficiaries.
Appealing a press briefing in Umuahia, National Chairman of Isun Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Sir Isaac Nkole, said the move would be counter -productive.
He said that the scheme had made tremendous impacts in some key sectors of the economy such as agriculture and education; stressing that any idea to discontinue the programme “is ill-advised and makes no economic sense.”
Nkole noted that several university graduates had been engaged in teaching primary school pupils through N-Power, a development, he explained, had improved the quality of education in primary schools especially in rural communities.
He further argued that disengaging the beneficiaries after giving them hope and little succour for about four years would not only worsen the unemployment situation in the country but lead to increase in crime wave as well as suicide cases.
In his words; ” The introduction of N-Power stands out as one of the best policies of the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari. A lot of graduates have been engaged through the scheme. Some of them are in N-Teach, N-Agro, N-Tax and N-build. I appeal to President Buhari not to listen to anyone advising him to disengage the beneficiary as being speculated that the programme will be stopped by the 26th of this month.
“The questions are; If you disengage these graduates that are helping to improve the quality of education in primary schools, where do you want them to go? Is it to the over-saturated labour market or the crime industry?”
Nkole, however, urged the President not to make the mistake of laying off N-Power beneficiaries because of the grave implications of such action.
He rather urged the President to look for a way of permanently absorbing the beneficiaries into full civil service.
Nkole whose cooperative is in charge of disbursing the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Covid -19 loan to households and Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, in South East and South South geopolitical zones, applauded the President for the gesture.
Mr. Nkole who said the loan had seriously assisted several households recover from the harsh impacts of the covid -19 pandemic, disclosed that over 2000 persons had benefitted from the scheme in the zones.
Nkole who said Buhari’s administration had made appreciable efforts in the fight against poverty through some laudable programmes like Covid -19 loan, Trader Money, and N-Power, urged the President not to relent.
He promised that the Isun Cooperative Society as one of the accredited cooperative societies in the disbursement of the covid -19 loan, would ensure “it gets to the people in the grass roots equitably”.
“This is the first time the down trodden in society is getting interest -free federal loans without stress. It’s amazing and it has restored the hope of many homes today.”
Nkole who said beneficiaries in the household category got up to N500,000 per person payable after three years, advised them to invest the money wisely, noting that “it’s a loan and not grant”.
He hinted that disbursement for the SME category would soon commence, and commended Buhari for his commitment in eliminating poverty among Nigerians.