Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday said the engagement of the first 200,000 out of the Federal Government’s 500,000 Volunteer Job Programme will begin in about two weeks’ time.
Mr. Osinbajo gave the assurance in Lagos at a colloquium on The Way Forward for Nigeria.
“We are trying to create jobs directly,’’ he said, adding that “the government is creating space for more private sector activities for facilitated economic growth.’’
Mr. Osinbajo said the Volunteer Corps Programme ought to have started on October 31.
“The delay is because we are trying to provide as many equipment as we require. We also want to ensure that we provide opportunities across the states as they come.
“Close to a million registered; we should start with the first 200,000 in 14 days or thereabout.
“It is a temporary opportunity for young graduates. We have volunteer teachers, public health officers. They will be given a device that contains training module,’’ he explained.
He added that registration was ongoing for the micro credit scheme for a million artisans and market women.
In a separate statement, Mr. Osinbajo’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande, said the engagement of the 200,000 Nigerians was awaiting the completion of Bank Verification Number (BVN) clearance.
According to him, the verification is to ensure that the beneficiaries are paid directly. He said that no fewer than 500,000 Nigerians would be engaged in the job-creation scheme.
He said the first selection was done by Presidency officials in collaboration with Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Health and other government agencies.
He added that foreign consultants were neither used nor needed.
Mr. Akande said that three criteria were used for the selection of the 200,000.
He said 40 per cent was selected based on the number of applications per state; a special mark-up was made for the six states of the Northeast; and a discretionary addition for states with low numbers of applicants.
He said the Buhari Social Investment scheme differed from the defunct SURE-P in many ways including the elimination of errors identified in SURE-P.
According to him, the Presidency conceived the Social Investments Programmes as a means to effectively and efficiently touch the lives of Nigerians, especially the unemployed and the poorest.
Said he: “we have designed a full-proof process that will ensure that the goods are delivered.
“There would not be any middle-men and the payments to be made to the N-Power candidates, the monthly N5, 000 to the poorest and most vulnerable among others would be paid directly to them.”
The Vice Presidential Spokesman said there was high level of enthusiasm shown in the social investment programme from every state of the federation.
He added that the use of online method of application was to also avoid the awkward method of recruitment in the past that had resulted in deaths and injury to many applicants.
Mr. Akande, however, added that only the job application segment of the social investment scheme was subjected to online application while the remaining aspects were not treated as such.
He urged Nigerians to disregard social media reports on alleged mismanagement of the N500 billion Social Intervention Funds.
According to Mr. Akande, the Presidency understands the need for an ongoing public discussion of this unprecedented budgetary allocation in favour of the Nigerian people especially the poorest and the most vulnerable.
He, however, noted that it was “not correct to claim any form of mismanagement or marginalisation whatsoever’’.
He added that “there has not been any disbursement from the allocated fund not to talk of any kind of mismanagement at all.
“While it is true that funds are being released for the social investment programmes, it is rather preposterous for now to say there is no evidence where the funds have gone to.
“As an administration noted for its transparency, we intend to fully keep Nigerians posted of all financial expenditure in line with extant laws of the country.”