30 August 2013, Abuja – Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, says the continued delay of the payment of stipends to the beneficiaries of the Community Services, Women and Youths Empowerment, CSWYE, under the Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment , SURE-P, could cause crisis.
Speaking at the Inter-ministerial Consultative Committee, IMCC, meeting at Abuja, he said: “The fear is that the delay in payment of stipends to the beneficiaries cause crisis in all the state as they tend to grow impatient.”
He said that the ministry has toiled to source funding for the project in sustainable manner to ensure smooth payment of the youths ‘ monthly stipends.
According to him, the paucity of fund is having a toll on other aspects of the project which are at slow pace or put completely on hold.
Wogu said that only part of the 2013 budget for the project was released, to the tune of N4.96billion, which enabled the payment of monthly stipends to beneficiaries and provision of running cost to all the states of the federation, up to June.
He said: “ We currently have back-log of these payments for the months of July and August, which will continue to build up if more funds are not released.”
The minister said that following the federal government’s directive to involve five more banks, Access Bank, First City Monument Bank, First Bank, Unity and Zenith in the beneficiary payment system in addition to the United Bank of Africa , the pioneer bank.
He added that series of meetings were held with the banks and a consensus was reached that the new banks will be given till October to take over the payment stipends in their respective assigned geo-political zones to enable them develop and test-run the required payment portals.
Wogu noted that in continuation of the zonal sensitization and appraisal visits to states, the South West geo-political zone is the next in line.
– John Ofikhenua, The Nation