Npower 3.0: FG to engage 1Million Youths every year in Npower 3.0 to commence soon, assures payment of eligible previous beneficiaries

The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has disclosed its plan to engage 5million youths aged 18-40 years in the expanded Npower 3.0 to be launched soon.

This is contained in a statement signed by the National Npower Programme Manager, Dr. Akindele Egbuwalo, on Sunday, for the Honorable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

Egbuwalo in the official statement titled "Press Statement on the ongoing Audit and Temporal Suspension of Npower Programme" stated that 1 million youths will be engaged every year in the restructured Npower 3.0 in 5 years, with the increment of Npower eligibility age limit from 35 to 40 years.

He assured that upon conclusion of the ongoing investigation/audit in the Npower programme, beneficiaries with valid claims will be paid their outstanding Stipends.

The ministry disclosed that preliminary findings of the audit have shown that some consultants are holding on to beneficiaries' funds disbursed to them long ago even when their contract ended in March 2023 without any renewal. 

 The Statement reads: 

"It is imperative to inform Nigerians, particularly beneficiaries of the N-Power program across the country, of the temporary suspension of the program.

 "This action has become necessary to give room for a detailed investigation into the operations of the N-Power in the last twelve months. The total number of persons enrolled in NPOWER since its inception to date is 960,000 people. Most of them have exited from NPower 1.0 and NPower 2.0 batch A and B

"There is a need to audit the number of people in the program, those who have exited the program, those who are being owed, whether they reported to work or not, and how funds have been utilized over this period.

"Recently, we discovered instances of program beneficiaries whose participation has lapsed since 2022 but have remained on and continue to expect payments from the government. In addition, some beneficiaries must honor their obligation to the program: They do not report to their places of primary assignments as required but still receive monthly payments. Some have other jobs and have left this bracket but are still benefiting from the payments, while those who truly worked are not paid

"These instances have made the need for a thorough audit imperative, as we also look into claims of those being owed for up to eight to nine months' stipends to ascertain the veracity of their claims. The graduates & non-graduate volunteers Batch C1 & C2 are in this category. We want to establish the exact number of people owed and the total amounts, thereby eliminating ghost beneficiaries.

"Preliminary findings of our audit have shown that some consultants are holding on to beneficiaries' funds disbursed to them long ago even when their contract ended in March 2023 without any renewal. We condemn this practice and will not tolerate it going forward. Work is ongoing to identify those involved, understand why the payments didn't get to the final beneficiaries, and recall the funds to pay those owed.

Read Also: Tinubu Government suspends Npower indefinitely over Management Irregularities, Absenteeism, Abscondment and more

"We appeal to Nigerians to understand the rationale behind the temporary suspension and investigation of the program as we work to restore the nation's confidence in the program and for the new N-Power to serve Nigerians better. Things have to be properly done for us to move forward.

"This restructuring and transformation will also birth an expanded program to reach beneficiaries aged 18-40 (the previous age limit was 35). We are targeting 5 million beneficiaries in 5 years at a pace of 1 million per year under the graduate and non-graduate stream.

"In addition, the restructuring will accommodate some new programs, in Education, Health, Work, Agriculture, Technology, fashion, entertainment, and other relevant areas of skill acquisition and employability.

"To earn the confidence of Nigerians in the expanded program, transparency and accountability will be the benchmark. It shall no longer be business as usual as we make concerted efforts to put the nation on the right footing, ensuring that no one directly or indirectly unleashes suffering on Nigerians.

"We assure all beneficiaries with genuine claims that we will resolve their cases once we complete the verification exercise and honor all valid outstanding obligations. Nobody will be owed."

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