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Nearly 5 million people applied for Batch C of the N-Power scheme this year

From the moment it was confirmed that indeed, contrary to rumours and false information, Nigerians were indeed susceptible to the Coronavirus, it was only a matter of time before the extreme poverty which hovered over the lives of half of adult Nigerians would begin to yield dire consequences. Poverty and hunger is rife across the country, with nearly 70% of all Coronavirus interventions dealing with providing food and other basic amenities. Such is the reality of our country now. And this is why it should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that 4.48 million Nigerians applied for the Batch C round of applications for the N-Power employment and enterpreneur empowerment scheme.

N-Power has existed in many variant forms, but its current incarnation was facilitated by former President Goodluck Jonathan who split the scheme into batches and created the current model that finds and funds enterpreneurs seeking to strike out on their own with the promise of repayment based on an agreed timeline. As with Goodluck Jonathan, the Buhari administration’s efforts to implement the scheme has been met with widespread corruption, distrust among the elite and a desperate unemployed youth population looking for a pick-me-up. It is quite the cocktail.

My team and I continue to interface with stakeholders to ensure a successful transition for the @npower_ng. It has been 16 days since the portal opened and we have received 4.48 million applications to date.

— Sadiya Umar Farouq (@Sadiya_farouq) July 12, 2020

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, shared information about the progress of the Batch-C recruitment who disclosed this via a tweet, clarifying that the staggering number of applications were received in only 16 days. The government currently only has capacity to enrol 400,000 hopefuls into the scheme, emphasizing just how dire the reality is for youth of working age.

N-Power is just one of several poverty alleviation schemes implemented by the federal government to cushion the effects of the recession experienced in 2016 and now a second one we will all experience in the second half of the year. Helpful as they are, these schemes are merely stopgaps that will not solve the widespread problem of poor incentives for investors and a lack of investor revenue, perhaps its time we shifted our focus there.

The Federal Government plans to enrol 400,000 applicants in the Batch C scheme.

Providing updates on the applications so far received for the scheme, Umar-Farouq stated in a tweet on Sunday night that “my team and I continue to interface with stakeholders to ensure a successful transition for the @npower_ng.

“It has been 16 days since the portal opened and we have received 4.48 million applications to date.”

The ministry had recently explained that it was carrying out the transitioning of independent monitors recruited to monitor Batch A and B of the N-Power programme as well as other National Social Investment Programmes.

The NSIP was inaugurated by the government in 2016 with the mandate of lifting citizens out of poverty through a number of social interventions.

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The interventions include N-Power, National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme.

The humanitarian minister, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, had thanked the independent monitors for their service in monitoring the activities and programmes of the NSIPs.

She noted that as the ministry had commenced the transition of Batch A and B N-Power beneficiaries, it would conclude activities of the independent monitors enrolled with those two batches by July 31, 2020.

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