300,000 N-power left beneficiaries for CBN loans

Minister for Humanitarian Services, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, said on Thursday that about 300,000 beneficiaries out of Electricity N would get loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria to start their businesses after Professional formation.

She said so yesterday in Abuja during the weekly ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Media Team.

She said: “We have an exit strategy, which we are working with in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria. And out of those 500,000, about 300,000 have indicated their interest in participating in an exit program where you can be trained on different skills, skills of their choice and they will receive loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria to start their business.

“That, we have gone far. We are in the process of training those who have shown interest. And I am sure that before the end of this quarter, these people will receive these loans from the CBN.

“Around 109,000 of N-power beneficiaries have become entrepreneurs. They are now labor employers and we have proof of this which can be provided to you.

The minister said it is elitist to say that the government’s monthly national cash transfer of 5,000 naira cannot lift the poor and vulnerable out of poverty.

She was reacting to a question about the relevance of the cash transfer initiative to the administration’s plan to save 100 million Nigerians from extreme poverty.

She said the intervention, however, may not be suitable for certain categories of Nigerians using N5,000 to top up their phones.

“If you look at the people you are providing this intervention to, N5,000 means a lot to them because they are poor and vulnerable households and it changes their status, but for you and me, N5,000 is not even enough to us to buy a top-up card, that’s the difference.

“When people say 5,000 naira doesn’t save people, that’s an elitist statement, honestly because we had reason to go out there, and we saw those people only when you give them those 5 000 naira, they cried and shed tears because they never saw N5,000 in their life.So it goes far, it changes their status and by that it elevates them step by step other,” she said.

She said the North East insurgency and other crises around Nigeria had created the need for increased humanitarian assistance.

National social investment program coordinator Umar Bindir said a survey in some southern states showed the threat of out-of-school children was a national problem.

He was reacting to the question whether the government’s school feeding program had had a positive impact on the country by reducing the number of out-of-school children.

“Some people here, if you’re talking about out-of-school children, think you’re talking about Almajiri in the north. Some people think it’s actually religious or Muslim. But I can tell you in this program, we established it as a national issue.

“We sent a team to Lagos. They went to Mokoko, they met 7,000 out-of-school children picking up things from the dirt. The guy came shaking. We sent another guy to Jos, he came shaking too. We sent another guy to Enugu, and for the first time everyone realized that out-of-school children are a national problem.

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