Implementation plans for the effective commencement of a number of the social investment programmes of the Buhari presidency has reached advanced stages as the selection of the first 200,000 unemployed graduates to get jobs is now being completed.
Speaking with a small group of radio journalists and producers at the Presidential Villa, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed that “we expect that before the end of the month, we will engage 200,000,” out of the 500,000 unemployed graduates the Buhari administration plans to hire in the N-Power jobs programme.
According to him, the direct government jobs is meant “to keep this young people occupied, pay them some amount of money and also give them a device, which will also help them to learn several skills that they can develop as time goes on.”
Prof. Osinbajo added that “we expect that before the end of this month, we should have engaged 200,000 of them and we are hoping that before the end of the year we should have engaged more.”
Similarly, Mr. Osinbajo disclosed that the Home-Grown School Feeding programme is set to kick off in several states this month.
“Definitely before the end of this month, we expect that several states would have come on stream with their Home-grown School Feeding Programmes,” the Vice President noted.
He added that the Home-Grown School Feeding programme “will energise agriculture in the different states because it is what you plant that you feed the children with, we will be hiring caterers, cooks, etc in each state because it will be Federal Government funded from Primaries 1-3 and the state governments hopefully would be able to cater for the other classes.”
According to the Vice President, the Home-Grown School Feeding programme is another section of the Social Investment programmes that impact directly on the lives of Nigerian children and families. He said several states will start implementing the Home-grown School Feeding Programme before the end of October.
Equally he stated that the Micro-Credit scheme for which the Buhari administration will give very low-cost loans to more than one million Nigerian artisans, traders, market women and other ranging from N60,000 to N100,000 would also be kicking off this month.
According to him, “for women across the country, we are giving loans, micro credit loans to about 1.5 million women. We are focusing on market women and artisans, loans between N60,000 and 100,000 each. We are working through the Bank of Industry, BOI. They are going to be giving out these loans, we‘ve already identified the banks and everybody who is involved in this. We should be flagging-off hopefully before the end of this month”
Such soft loans to the artisans, traders and market women, according to him, is meant “to boost their businesses.”
The Vice President reassured Nigerians that the current Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari is well focused on ameliorating the plight of the citizens of the country, observing that the administration feels the pains of the citizens and is committed to assuaging them.
“We fully understand and appreciate the situation of things in the country and we are committed to ensuring that that pain is assuaged. The President stated that clearly in his October 1st broadcast to the nation. All his life, he has been a salary earner, he has never been a businessman, so he understands why someone who earns a salary and even those who do not, are severely challenged at this time of economic recession such as we are experiencing,” he said.
On the economy, Vice President Osinbajo said government is committed to developing it, to enable citizens find opportunities within the country.
“I want to assure Nigerians that the government of President Buhari is a very focused and determined government. We are committed to ensuring that we are able to develop the Nigerian economy in such a way that Nigerians are able to find opportunities in their own country,” he said.
He listed the ‘Made in Nigeria’ project, moving away from import dependence, boosting agriculture, and encouraging manufacturing as some of the urgent actions being pursued by government in order to move the country forward.
The Vice President also emphasized the Buhari administration’s zero tolerance for corruption, as corruption is “the major drain on the country’s resources.” He added that “no one would be spared in the fight against corruption because, even the close friends of the President know that they will not be spared, he will not cover for them. Fighting corruption is a priority.”
On the current recession, the Vice President said the fall in oil prices and pipeline vandalism were the immediate causes of the recession, thus reducing drastically, the country’s revenue. But he assured that government will adequately manage the little being realised now.
“We were producing up to 2.2 million barrels a day but all of a sudden, the vandalization of our terminals caused us to lose up to a million barrels a day.
“So when you lose up to 60 per cent of your revenue or even more, there must be a shock because you are really earning very little and we will ensure that that very little that we are earning is as well managed as possible,” he said.