By Mustapha Usman
The Federal Government has approved an additional N4500 monthly to all the 200,000 N-Power beneficiaries to purchase an electronic device loaded with different applications that would further enhance the skills of the beneficiaries and afford them additional training opportunities during the two-year duration of the job program.
Laolu Akande, the spokesman to vice president said the grant is in conjunction with the Bank of Industry, BoI, which extended an asset finance of 20 months to each of the 200,000 N-Power beneficiaries.
“While each of the beneficiaries after being verified would select their choice of device amongst nine different BOI pre-approved vendors, the price ranges from N3,000 to N6,700 monthly deductions for the next 20months.
“Therefore in some cases the N4500 device grant would cover the full monthly deduction cost while in other cases the graduate authorizes BOI to deduct the additional differential cost from their monthly stipends depending on the device chosen.
According to Mr Akande six of the nine BOI pre-approved vendors are indigenous local brands in pursuit of the Buhari administration’s push for local content.
He said almost 100,000 graduate N-Power beneficiaries have completed their orders for the devices, adding that the Bank of Industry is in charge of effecting the orders made. The plan is to conduct the order of the devices in two batches of 100,000 each, one after the other.
It was further disclosed that all the 149,669 N-Power beneficiaries now collecting their stipends have been physically verified and deployed, while their given bank account information have also been matched with the Bank Verification Number.
He said in December, about 112,475 of the N-Power graduate beneficiaries received the N30,000 monthly stipends, and the number came close to 150,000, both in January and February meaning about that number are now receiving their up-to-date stipends from the N-Power Volunteer Corps.
Mr Akande also noted that now beneficiaries across the 36 States of the Federation, and the FCT have been verified, totalling the 150,000 figure. He said the balance of 50,000 of the 200,000 beneficiaries engaged by the FG are those who so far could not be paid for various reasons.
This includes those who were disqualified during verification on the basis of age-over 35, and inadequate academic qualification. The N-Power is for university, polytechnics and College of Education graduates only. There were also some of the selected 200,000 who were ‘no shows’ meaning they simply did not report for verification at all.
Others who could not be paid were those whose personal information details were faulty, including those whose marital status have changed. There are also those who used different names and differing personal information. And lastly there are also those whose banking information simply do not match with their BVN banking records.
In the case of those whose marital status have changed, Akande explained that their information is now being updated through the various States and FCT Focal Persons and then they would be represented for payment. He also disclosed that those who have sought redeployment to other states are among the 50,000 and in such cases, they will be considered alongside those to be replaced from the N-Power waiting list where necessary.
The process for the replacement of those who did not show up and those disqualified would also resume shortly to bring the number back to 200,000 for the first batch of the 500,000 promised by the Buhari administration.