The Senate has urged the federal government to collapse the Need for Power Empowerment Programme, popularly known as N- Power, being separately run since 2015 under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
This, it said, would make the empowerment and capacity building programme “more effective, impactful and reachable to Nigerians in need of such interventions.”
The Senate made the call on Friday through its Committee on Labour and Employment during an interactive session with management of the Labour Ministry and heads of various parastatal under it.
Specifically, the former chairman of the Committee, Suleiman Nazif (PDP, Bauchi North), in his remarks, said for the federal government to succeed with the N-Power programme, it must be domiciled under the Ministry of Labour to be specifically driven by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
He said: “Empowering Nigerians through social intervention programmes by any government is highly commendable but the required success of such a programme lies on anchoring them on solid structures which NDE
has, and not elitist structures anchored on laptops being presently used.
“The Labour Ministry is the Ministry any serious government should focus attention on in developing the people through all the different agencies under it like the NDE, NSITF, etc.
“The idea of coming up with empowerment or social intervention programmes without anchoring their implementation on solid existing structures built over the years has always been counterproductive and will continue to be so.”
Subscribing to Nazif’s suggestions in their separate remarks, the new chairman of the Committee, Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina South) and the Chairman, Committee on Ecology and Climate Change, Bukkar Abba Ibrahim
(APC, Yobe East), noted that “for the intervention programmes or empowerment to be more visible, already visible agencies on ground like the NDE, should be empowered to drive it.”
Like heads of the other agencies present at the session, the NDE boss complained of inadequate funding by the federal government on a yearly basis as the major problem affecting the operational capacity of the agency.
This was as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, who represented the Minister, Dr Chris Ngige, decried the paucity of funds in the ministry.