Editor's note: In this opinion piece, Aanu Adegun, a journalist with Legit.ng called on the Nigerian government not to disengage N-Power beneficiaries without proper exit package for all of them and business support for those with viable ideas.
He argues that if the government failed to support the beneficiaries without a decent exit package, then the whole idea behind the programme is nonsense.
The federal government through the minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has declared that beneficiaries of the N-Power programme have been disengaged from June.
Disengaging thousands of youths at this critical period is quite baffling, given the fact that many of them will be condemned to a life of hardship since most will not be able to secure any job at all as a result of the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Though, the government has not announced if there would be exit packages for the 'new jobless' young Nigerians but it is necessary that the government set aside a substantial sum of money to assist beneficiaries who can boast of clear business plans if it insists on sacking them.
With this, I recommend that the government should give a minimum of N200,000 as an exit package for all of them and a minimum of N1 million loan for those with viable business plans. The money should be collateral and interest-free and open to all of them without bias.
It should be noted that most of these youths are being held back from starting one business or the other because of capital. The government can do the right thing now by giving them the money needed.
I also want to encourage the FG to trash the idea that beneficiaries should have started a viable business with their monthly N30,000 stipends. It is not as easy as that. Transport, feeding, calls, health etc are not free. In fact, some of these beneficiaries are the ones taking care of their families. And most of those who claimed to have started one business or the other with the stipends have some additional support they refused to disclose.
The FG must realise that sacking these beneficiaries without adequate support to face the new world of coronavirus is sheer recklessness and absolute wickedness. In fact, without proper support for future endeavours of beneficiaries, the whole idea behind N-Power is nonsense. Why pay them for two or three years only to send them out to continue roaming the street jobless and helpless?
If the FG refuses to provide the needful support to these vulnerable Nigerians, then, they are invariably creating disaster with a crude humanitarian heart.
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