Fed. Govt Reviews N5,000 Unemployment Stipend Scheme

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The Federal Government has categorically stated it cannot afford to pay indolent Nigerians the N5,000 stipend promised to the unemployed, revealing that it will review the scheme to ensure that beneficiaries use the money for productive purposes.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, disclosed this when he spoke with newsmen at the All Progressives Congress (APC) secretariat in Abuja. He said while some people will get N5,000 under cash conversion scheme, some will get N10,000 while others may get more than N15,000 in training.

Ngige further explained that some beneficiaries would go through different training programmes before getting employed by either the state or Federal Government.

“We also have the programme on the commission cash transfer. Though, even you, the media, have said it, we won’t pay N5,000 for people to be indolent. No country in the world would pay people to go home and sleep and collect cash, so, Nigeria won’t be an exception.

“We will pay some people N5,000, pay some N10,000, and even for people in teacher conversion scheme, we will pay more than N10,000, N15,000 as stipend while in training and, then, after the training, they are going to be employed by state governments and the Federal Government in different institutions.

“It is not a programme we shall run alone, the state governments are going to buy into it; they are going to synchronise with us. We are going to do it in synergy,” he explained.

Emphasising that the present administration had some poverty alleviating and employment generating programmes, the former Senator added that the programmes would span through many ministries.

“The programmes will span through ministries of Education, Agriculture, Labour and Agriculture, because we have some agricultural universities and we plan to convert some people to teach the relevant agricultural science,” he noted.

On the President Muhammadu Buhari skills acquisition scheme, Ngige said: “The ministry has specialist skills acquisition centres; we have seven like that based in the ministry under the commissioner of skills or directorate for skills…”

During the campaign, the APC promised a welfare scheme where unemployed graduates will be paid N5,000 stipend each.

Late last year, attempts by the Senate caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to raise the issue was scuttled by the APC caucus.

“The NDE have over 120 centres scattered all over the country, we also have those that have been built by state government and we want to capture all of these into that scheme and then get people to the scheme as bricklayers, POP designers, builders, welders, electronics repairer, mecha-tronic, repair of vehicles, automobile carpentry, painting and fabrication of all sorts.

“We are going to do it, teach people, give them certification, because many people don’t know that Ministry of Labour is the only place that can certify tradesmen. This skill acquisition centres are in grades, we have grade A certification, Grade B, Grade C, D and E Certification, they all still exist.

“So, we want to get back our youths, capture them, teach them to use their hands, and when they used their hands, they can earn money by employing themselves. If you get a bricklayer or a painter today, you cannot pay less than N5000 for a daily job.

“If somebody is able to work 20 days in a month for N5000, he already has N100,000. But, today is a sad story, that is why Togolese, Ghanaians, citizens of Benin Republic, Niger Republic do all these skilled job for us. 80 per cent of workers in that specialize category in construction site all over Nigeria, be it in Abuja, in Lagos or in Onitsha, come from outside.

“We don’t know that little drops of water form ocean, the money or the naira they are paid is repatriated to their country and all of them will come at the end of the day to put pressure on naira in the foreign exchange market.

“So, we have decided that we have to train our own youths, let them use their hands to fend for themselves. We will also want to advance some of them into entrepreneurship. If you are very good, we can open a place for you and give you money through the Bank of Industry and SMEDAN and then you move to the next stage where a number of youths will work with you,” he explained.


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