NSIP aided Nigeria’s early exit from recession- Imoukhuede
Afolabi Imoukhuede, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job creation and Youth Empowerment, has ascribed the early exit of the country from recession to the successful implementation of the Social Investment Programme.
He made the remark at a dinner for the N-Power monitoring team and volunteers organized by the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo in Akure.
Imoukhuede said: “What is important is to say that this Social investment programme was also that one programme that was very instrumental to our early exit out of recession.
“I say that because in Ondo state alone we have about 13,804 volunteers at present.
“But in batch one where you had about 5,477 volunteers, the state’s economy grossed N172 million monthly.
“This is not money locked in any fixed account of any contractor but money spread across all your local governments and in your pockets directly.
“And over the last 24 months as you have been in the programme that has grossed N4.2 billion; and that is just one state.
“Multiply that, because no state has less than 10,000 volunteers. By multiplying it by 36 states and FCT, that is 37, it tells you the quantum of investment that has gone directly into individual lives, beneficiaries, real human lives, not through any third party.
“For those of you who are in the batch 2 where you have about 8,000 the state economy gross N250 million monthly, meaning that for the four months you have been in the programme that is N1billion.
“In the last four months the N250 million plus N172 million gives you a clear idea of what comes into the state economy on a monthly basis.”
The presidential aide noted that this was why it was so important to appreciate the passion and importance that the state partners in Ondo attached to the N-Power programme.
He said: “As often said it has been N6billion monthly that we have paid out to 200,000 volunteers since December 2016; that number grew up to N15 billion since August when we pay up to 500,000 beneficiaries.
“Even just N6 billion, if the President had decided to direct it to infrastructure project, I don’t know what infrastructure project that will get consistently N6billion every month that the timeline for the construction will not be cut by half.’’
He stated that those were the arguments that antagonists to the SIPs were making.
He said: “But Mr President said “no’’, why, because he considers and values investment in you at equal or even higher pedestal than infrastructure.”
According to him, infrastructure is key to the administration but it still values human development as high as that or even more.
He said: “It is important to understand this and respond positively; discipline is key, attitude is key; you can chose to be different and make your point but you do not have to be rude.
“It is important that we have the heart of appreciation to Mr President and I know that the volunteers will make informed choices at the appropriate time.”
Imoukhuede stated that the N-Power programme was conceived to get the youth out of unemployment in the country but as well applying them to the areas of greatest need for the country.
He noted that the N-Build scheme, being skills-to-enterprise programme, was designed looking at the Economic Recovery and Growth Programme.
He said it was with this realisation that construction was one of the fastest ways to get the country out of recession and to achieve that requires skilled people.
He said: “That is why out of the seven traits in the 2017 budget implementation, six went to construction and the seventh one went to automobile sector in order to strengthen local content in the automobile sector.”
Imoukhuede also highlighted the focus of the administration on technology which primarily drove the initiatives in N-Power.
He said technology informed the issuance of devices to the volunteers and many had confirmed that it really promoted their entrepreneurship.
The Presidential aide, who was given a special youth development award by Ondo government, dedicated the award to President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and the entire volunteers and staff members of the N-Power office.
According to him, “we do what we do because that is what we have been called to do’’, noting that without the mandate given to him by the presidency he would not have been honoured.
Imoukhuede noted that when N-Power was conceived there was little inkling that there was going to be recession adding that from nothing the programme had risen to an enviable height.
He said: “We started the programme in the heat of recession but for the integrity of the two principals this programme would not have seen the light of the day and it would have been justifiably so.
“Because we did not envisage the recession when we made the promises on the campaign trail in 2014 as we are now we are back again on the campaign trail.
“What I want you to understand is that in spite of the economic challenges we did not renege on our words.
“So it is important to put promises in proper context so that when we say to you that we will give you hope, elevate your hope and point you in the direction of continued progress you will appreciate it.”
He said that initially there were suggestions that the programme should start with 1,000 volunteers per state until Osinbajo described the suggestion as a joke in a country of millions of jobless youth.
He said at the end the programme began with 200,000 and had risen to 500,000 with a promise to raise it on incremental basis.
The Ondo commissioner for finance and NOA director in the state in their various speeches noted that N-Power had come to stay as it had been so impactful.
The told the beneficiaries to always remember that the administration of President Buhari had provided a future for them.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that earlier the monitoring team had visited the Ondo Primary Health care Centre, Alkale, the Building department of the Federal University of Technology and Lafbart Automobile workshop, Akure, where volunteers were posted to.
The team expressed happiness with the progress of the programme and the dedication of the N-Build beneficiaries toward their training.