N-Power Stipend: Payment Process Has Been Disrupted – Insider Reveals (ICYMI)
N-Power beneficiaries. Image: Powerhopes
As N-Power beneficiaries await the payment of their October stipend, Concise News takes a flashback to last month when insiders expressed fears that the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIPs) is now effectively going the way of many government programmes.
It would be recalled that the NSIP (a programme the N-Power scheme is one of it’s components), which was formerly under the office of the vice-president and managed by Maryam Uwais, special adviser to the president on social intervention, was moved to the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development on October 1.
As per TheCable about three weeks ago, Maryam Uwais, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on social investment has been having a running battle with politicians who want to hijack the programme for political purposes, especially with an average annual budget of N500 billion — complemented by the $322 million Abacha loot restituted to the country in 2018 by the Swiss government.
The transfer of NSIP from the office of the vice-president is meant to institutionalise the intervention, according to President Muhammadu Buhari, but recent developments have raised fears that politicians may hijack it.
On Friday, October 25, 2019, Uwais was involved in a major face-off with senators during the budget defence of the programme.
“My colleagues accused Uwais of shutting them out of the contract benefits and even appointments of vendors,” a senator told TheCable after the session.
“They threatened to deal with her using the budget process. They did not allow her to talk.”
Sadiya Umar Farouq, the minister of humanitarian affairs, was however allowed to talk.
“Only the minister was allowed to speak during the session and she appealed to all the journalists present to go blank.”
The minister then spoke in a “cordial” tone with the senators, who were angling for “opportunities”.
The budget defence eventually went “smoothly” the following Monday.
Beginning of the end for N-Power?
“The payment process to ordinary Nigerians that was perfected over the past four years has been disrupted. The ministry of budget and planning and finance has become powerless,” an insider said.
“The minister has failed to approve the payment of vendors of the school feeding programmes, and the N-Power beneficiaries too are still waiting for payment.”
At the office of NSIP, “you can feel the frustration of the staff” — according to another insider.
“Some of them have not been paid for months. While vendors and beneficiaries are yet to be paid, the minister recently applied to buy a generator for her office from the funds,” the insider further said.
“This request was queried by the budget and planning ministry as extra budgetary and illegal.”
With today being the nineteenth day of the month and no payment for October yet (as Concise News observed), all eyes are now on Farouq to prove the Doubting Thomases wrong.
This online news medium on Monday asked Afolabi Imoukhuede, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on Job Creation and Youth Employment why beneficiaries are still being owed October stipend, but as at the time of publishing this report, he is yet to respond to our SMS.