N-power April Stipend: The facts and the lies

The Minister for Humanitarian Afairs, Disaster Management and Social Developement, Sadiya Umar Farouk, has on Saturday announced that her Ministry has paid the April stipends of the N-power beneficiaries. This statement is true. [continue reading...]

The Minister when being questioned about the delay in payment of N-power beneficiaries, responded that her Ministry is not responsible for payment of beneficiaries. This is also true.

The recent investigation conducted revealed that payment of the April Stipend to beneciaries  has actually commenced and ‘some’ beneficiaries have recieved their stipends especially the 2016 batch A.

The payment process is slow because it involves manual monitoring to ensure the following:

  1. Being a newly hosted payment platform, all the data from the previous database were transfered ‘as a whole’ into the server, which included those that have resigned and those that have been exited. Many of these categories got payments ‘in error’ during the last payment. They have been asked to refund the money or face auto-deduction. They want to make sure this does not happen again.

  1. You would recall that in 2016 when the previous payment platform was established, a lot of beneficiaries were not paid as their payments for one reason or the other bounced back instead of being delivered, and thus generated some ‘backlogs’. This is obtainable in the test phase of every automated system. There is usually system error or data error. A new platform being established entails such occurrence likely to happen as some beneficiaries did not receive their March Stipends. Involving a manual monitoring will not only ensure that the payment is delivered, it would also ensure that those who did not receive their March payments, get paid too.

  1. Being a new platform which was resuscitated after a fire outbreak, it needed to be monitored to assess efficiency, debug errors, correct errors and rebuild a reliable and smooth running server that can deliver when next automated.

A lot of the beneficiaries believe that no payment is being made and the Minister has eaten their money. This is a lie.

Investigation reveals that the Ministry does not pay beneficiaries in their offices. They only clear payments for those who are qualified to recieve payment, articulate number and amount to be paid for the month, sign and ‘authorise’ payment for those cleared for payment. This involves processes and different offices, and as such requires scrutiny to avoid errors.

The cleared beneficiaries to be paid are then forwarded outside the Ministry for more signatures of higher authorities after which it is finally transfered to those that make the payments. The truth is, different Ministries are involved to make all these happen.

There is a saying that the earlier the better. Hence it is true the Ministry could contribute in the delay of the stipend payments unless they had started the processes earlier to enhance speedy processing of payments.

It is true that the May Stipend is being processed and will be paid in no distant time without the ‘usual’ delay.

A blog post credited to the Minister saying that if the beneficiaries of the N-power program do not stop insulting her, she would withhold their 2months stipends. This is a lie. The Minister has cleared the air that she never made such statement anywhere.

It is also a lie that the stipends are bank-fixed to the peril of the beneficiaries and for the selfish gain of the Minister.

Investigation reveals that the Ministry does not operate a separate bank account holding the money budgeted for stipends. Stipends are paid from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) upon authorisation by the Minister, and other higher Federal authorities according to a stipulated operational process.

It is also a lie that the Minister wants to embazzle the money meant for the program.

Investigation reveals that the Minister does not hold the budgeted money in her bank account neither does she have a separate bank account in her Ministry holding such amount. In fact, she does not have a sole access to the fund and must tender the purpose of fund utilisation before the release of any fund.

The handlers of the N-power programs have apologised for the inconveniences the present situation has caused while advising the beneficiaries to remain patient as payment is in progress and everyone eligible will be paid.

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