The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has started plans to pay the N5000 monthly allowance to the about N25 million unemployed youths in the country by 2016.
The All Progressives Congress had promised before the election that it would address the issue of unemployment by paying unemployed youths N5000 and also introduce a feeding programme to schools.
The Peoples Democratic Party had in a motion called on the president to immediately fulfil his campaign promise by implementing the N5000 payment to unemployed youths but the move was rejected by APC senators.
The Punch however reports that the federal government had started plan on Monday, November 16 to pay the unemployed youths and also implement the school feeding programme and this will be covered in the 2016 budget.
Some officials have also been saddled with the responsibility of finding out the accurate number of youths that will benefit from the scheme.
A top government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the scheme had to be done well so that it would not be mismanaged and hijacked by politicians.
“You know that if the scheme is left open-ended, even Nigerians, who are employed and are by no means vulnerable, will still struggle to benefit from it.
“You also know that if not properly handled, politicians will hijack the scheme and it will become a means of settling their constituents, whether they qualify to benefit from it or not.
This is why the government will come up with data on the beneficiaries very soon.”
The official said the scheme might not take off in January or February of next year as it was important to ascertain the number of youths that deserve the payment and how much it would cost.
Mr. Laolu Akande who is the senior special adviser to the vice president on media and publicity confirmed that work was already on to identify the beneficiaries.
He said: “Work is ongoing on various aspects of the implementation of that social investment plan, including the identification of those that will benefit from it. Very soon, we shall be concluding work on that; that is a very important aspect of the programme.
“The plan of the government is to start as much as possible in the area of social investment, and conditional cash transfer is part of it.
“It is the plan of the government to explore how to start this with the 2016 budget.”
According to the Ministry of Finance and that of Budget and National Planning, the full implementation of the scheme would cost the federal government N125bn monthly and a total sum of N1.5tr annually
Another anonymous source said that apart from the N5000 unemployment payment and the school feeding programme, the government also planned to take care of Internally Displaced Persons.
He said: “We have started working on the budget since September this year at the Ministry of Budget and Planning.
“Since the ministry is the one coordinating the plans of government, what we did was to identify six priority programmes by pillars which have already been communicated to all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.
“So while preparing the medium term plan, what we did was to look at the manifesto of the APC and prepare our plan based on what its campaign promises were to Nigerians before the elections.
“And since social development is a key aspect of its campaign, we identified social protection schemes such as the conditional cash transfer and the school feeding programme as key to the programmes for 2016.”
President Buhari canceled the SURE P Programme which was also aimed at helping Nigerian youths.Christopher Kolade who headed the programme before he risigned said it had been hijacked by politicians and the true beneficiaries did not benefit from it.