If there are any hopes that the president could be mulling postponing his promise of social welfare programmes then that hope must surely be dashed. Premium Times is reporting that plans are already on the way to launch one of Buhari’s social programmes involving a credit facility of N60,000 to 1 million artisans.
According to Premium Times, the a senior federal government official confirmed that a provision to grant a one -time soft loan of about N60,000 each to one million market women, men and artisans is in the budget. This comes within the same day it was reported that the President has now officially sent in a new budget to the National Assembly.
The Buhari Government still has five other social programs (which Premium Times also listed) that it is hell-bent on starting this year. According to sources the president considers these programmes a priority of his government and must be implemented this year regardless of how it will be funded. Here are the rest of the programmes.
The Teach Nigeria Scheme: This scheme involves the government directly hiring about 500,000 graduates as teachers . They will also train and deploy the graduates to help raise the quality of teachers in public schools across the nation.
The Youth Employment Agency: This scheme involves taking between 300,000 to 500,000 non graduate youths through skill acquisition programmes and vocational training. They will also be paid stipends while being trained.
Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT): This is the most controversial of his social welfare policies and where the government will pay N5000 per month to one million ‘extremely poor’ Nigerians this year on the condition that they have children enrolled in school and are immunized.
Homegrown School Feeding: Here, the government will serve one meal a day to students of primary schools.
Free Education Scheme For Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM): The government will be expected to pay tuition to about 100,000 ‘STEM’ students in tertiary institutions in the country. This scheme is expected to cost about N5 billion.
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The 2016 budget is thought to have about N500 billion in welfare programmes
How the president intends to fund his welfare programs is still a mystery to a lot of critics who believe that he has been woeful so far on his handling of the economy. They point to the fact that the president cannot be talking about welfare programs when oil price continues to drop and the demand for our oil is tapering. Apart from funding, it is also not clear how he intends to handle the logistics involved in implementing some of these socialist programmes.