By Africa Today
The Cross River State coordinator of the Federal Government’s social investment programme, N-POWER, Mr. Victor Enerson, has lamented over the lack of synergy between the State Government and the Scheme, noting that it is hindering the programme from achieving its ultimate goal of producing employable and self-employed youths in the State.
Enerson stated this on Wednesday when he led the State N-Power management team and Local Government coordinators on a courtesy visit to the State Director of the National Orientation Agency in Calabar.
Intimating the NOA Director, Mrs. Florence Osang, on N-Power achievements at both local and state levels, the team said, “Over 300 young people who have NCE, HND and B.Sc have been lifted out of poverty” he stressed.
The team maintained that one of the major successes achieved is that there has been a positive change in the economic status of N-Power beneficiaries, noting that a lot of Beneficiaries have started projects such as farms and motivational organizations, while some have been able to use the proceeds from the scheme to further their education.
“N-Power has reduced youth restiveness. Since the programme came on board, a lot of people have been engaged and encouraged to take up farming as profitable venture. N-Teach participants have been teaching in Schools across the state, thereby solving the problem of inadequate teaching personnel in our schools”
“They are also engaged in our healthcare centers, where they take active part in HIV/AIDS sensitization and awareness campaigns, polio immunization activities and any other tasks assigned to them. N-Power beneficiaries are adding enough value to the system”.
“We are able to host the first end of the year party in the period under review as well as produce the first ever magazine that chronicles all our successes in the state”.
The team however expressed hope that the social investment programme would achieve more if the State Government provides the needed support, maintaining that N-Power is a counterpart project designed to be complemented by state Governments. They called on both Federal and State Governments to evolve modalities for funding and equipping skilled N-Power participants.
Members of the delegation, who took turn to speak, frowned at the way N-Power beneficiaries are being sidelined during job placements and recruitment in government ministries, departments and agencies while calling for a change in status quo if the scheme is to serve its purpose as a pool for skilled man-power in the country.
They also expressed fear about possible exit from the scheme without proper plans, saying the programme has brought large numbers of youth together, whose strength can either be harnessed for useful ventures or destructive ends.
Responding, State Coordinator of the National Orientation Agency, Mrs. Florence Osang, thanked members of the N-Power team for the visit.
Osang informed the team that the Federal Government has put so much in place to address the issue of youth unemployment, identifying the N-Power as one of such programmes initiated by the President Mohammadu Buhari-led administration, which according to her has impacted the lives of the beneficiaries positively.
While acknowledging that every venture has its shortcomings, she advised the N-Power volunteers to always have a plan B, by widening their skills rather than depending solely on the scheme.
She urged them to imbibe core values and exhibit prudential management of resources, which according to her, would be key factor in assisting them access loans that the Federal Government has already made available in banks.
The NOA state director assured the team that their submissions would be forwarded to the Agency’s national office for appropriate action.