N-Power: Succour as FG begins payment of N1.360bn outstanding allowances

•Clears 9,066 volunteers’ accounts, investigates 4,955 volunteers

Succour came the way of 9,066 N-Power Volunteers who participated in the Batches A and B of the 2016 and 2018 N-Power programme nationwide, as the Federal Government flagged-off payment of N1,359,900,000 outstanding allowances.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq confirmed the commencement of the payment through a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Bashir Nura Alkali.

While expressing regrets over the challenges faced by the ministry in the processing of the outstanding allowances, the Minister disclosed that the accounts of 9,066 volunteers were cleared for final payment of N150,000 each for a period of five months while the allowances of the 4,955 accounts are withheld pending the conclusion of further investigation.

“Following the payment system challenges faced by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development which has been overcome, the Ministry has commenced the final payment of the arrears on the few outstanding allowances of Batches A and B N-Power volunteers.

The accounts of these 14,021 volunteers were flagged in March 2020 by the Federal Government payment system, the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), for various reasons including but not limited to: beneficiaries having multiple accounts, and beneficiaries account receiving other payments such as salaries and allowances from multiple Federal Government Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) on permanent employment or for participating in other schemes.

“These acts violate the regulations guiding the N-Power volunteer programme and could amount to gross misconduct and corruption.

“The Ministry carried out a detailed investigation in collaboration with relevant government MDAs and so far the accounts of 9,066 volunteers were cleared for final payment.

“Based on this reality, the 5 months allowance arrears of these volunteers, totalling N150,000 each, is currently being paid. The allowances of the remaining 4,955 are withheld pending the conclusion of further investigation. Where clear violations of the agreements are established, such violators will be subjected to appropriate sanctions as stipulated by the law,” she affirmed.

Meanwhile, the Minister who dismissed reports in the public space, argued that the Ministry’s decision was aimed at ensuring transparency and accountability with a view to ensuring the sanctity of the programme.

“Contrary to some insinuations in the public domain, this process is a clear demonstration of the Ministry’s resolve to address this unfortunate incidence in a transparent manner for accountability and to forestall its future occurrence.

“As it has consistently maintained, the investigation carried out by the Ministry is in the best interest of the country and has the major goal of institutionalizing the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) and ensuring its efficient management in line with Mr President’s resolve to ensure transparency and accountability in its implementation at all times.

“The Ministry regrets the delays experienced in concluding this process, but assures the public that transparency and accountability cannot be compromised in all its activities,” she noted.

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