The Presidency on Monday said President Muhammadu Buhari never promised to pay unemployed graduates N5,000 monthly.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said this in an interview with State House correspondents.
Akande, whose boss, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, supervises the economy, spoke while reacting to a statement credited to Buhari, in which the President ruled out the possibility of his government paying N5,000 monthly allowance to unemployed youths in the country as promised by his party, the All Progressives Congress, ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
He said the provision the government made in the 2016 Budget before the National Assembly was to pay N5,000 monthly to one million extremely poor Nigerians, and not the unemployed graduates.
He said the promise to the poor still stands.
He explained that a provision for half a trillion naira had been made in the budget for social investment, which he said included the payment for the extremely poor.
Akande added, “The budget for 2016, which has been submitted to the National Assembly, has made an allocation of half a trillion naira, the first time in the history of this country’s budget, where you have that huge chunk of money allocated to social investment.
“In that N500bn, which is half a trillion naira, close to about 20 per cent of the entire budget, there are six social safety net programmes.
“One of them is the Conditional Cash Transfer, where government is going to pay N5,000 monthly to the vulnerable and extremely poor Nigerians. That promise stands.
“The President never promised to pay unemployed graduates N5,000; the President never made that promise and the government never made that claim that it would pay N5,000 to unemployed graduates.
“The programme for unemployed graduates is the direct creation of half a million teaching jobs so that they will be trained; 500, 000 unemployed graduates will be trained to teach and they will be deployed to teach, while they are looking for their career paths or jobs. That still stands!
“In addition to that, there is also a scheme to train 370, 000 non-graduate youths for skill acquisition and vocational training. During the time of that training, they will also be paid.
“So, the President did not say that he would be giving unemployed graduates N5,000.
“The N5,000 monthly, which is already in the budget, is for the vulnerable Nigerians and the extremely poor, and this year by the grace of God, once the budget is okayed, one million extremely poor Nigerians will receive N5,000 monthly.”
Meanwhile, the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, on Monday said the APC’s electoral promise of paying N5,000 monthly allowances to unemployed youths in the country was a good idea.
He said it was a great idea that must be implemented one way or the other.
Okorocha, who is also the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting he had with the Vice-President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Although he admitted that physical cash sometimes created more problems, he said the party must look for a way to implement the promise in the future.
He said, “To be honest with you, it is a great idea, but there are many ways to give that support.
“Sometimes, it could be in cash, which has its own challenges. Handling of that is also in itself a wonderful and great idea.
“Take for instance, in Imo State, they used to do what they called empowerment. They buy motorcycles and give people N5,000 or N10,000; for me, that is not my style.
“My style is to declare free education, from primary, secondary to university. Nobody pays one naira in Imo State.
“The woman, who has to endure a lot of social inconveniences to pay school fees, will be able to save that money to produce further wealth.
“So, if you keep money through that system, it creates more impact than physical cash. Physical cash sometimes creates more problems, so it is great idea, we have to do it one way or the other as time comes.” Source:PUNCH