The study examined the assessment of N-power in reducing unemployment in Nigeria. Rivers State were carefully selected to represent the entire population of Nigeria . Survey design was used in this study to generate data. A sample of 400 respondent youths was studied. After going through them 381 copies (i.e. 95.25% response rate) were found useful for the data analysis. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse data in this study. Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Co-efficient (r) was used to test the hypotheses. The study found that the major N-Power programmes used towards unemployment alleviation in Rivers State included: N-Power Teach, N-Power Build, N-Power Creative, N-Power Agro, N-Power Tech Software N-Power Tax, N-Power Health and N-Power Tech Hardware. The study revealed that N-Power Programmes’ beneficiaries were mainly university and polytechnic graduates. The study found that the major factors that affected the implementation of N-Power programmes included: Insufficient information, non-payment of stipend to participants as at when due, bribery and corruption, wrong bank verification number (BVN), overbearing hands of politicians in the programme etc. It is evident and conclusive that: There is significant relationship between N-Power programmes and unemployment alleviation in Rivers State and there is significant relationship between N-Power programmes and empowerment of the youths in Rivers State. The study therefore recommends that the authorities concerned should promote rural development through N-Power programmes. Also, government at all levels should reactivate moribund industries and enterprises and expand the horizon of N-Power programmes in that direction.
Background to the Study
Indeed, the N-Power programme has become a household name and has continued to generate some controversy, although the government is living up to its billing in addressing concerns raised in association with the programme. Explaining the rationale behind the programme, a highly placed government official says, the N-Power Programme of the Federal Government is a job creation and empowerment initiative of the Social Investment Programme, designed to drastically reduce youth unemployment in Nigeria (Obadan, 2017). The focus is to provide our young graduates and non-graduates with the skills, tools and livelihood to enable them advance from empowerment to empowerment, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Perhaps to further demonstrate the fact that it was aimed at addressing the challenges of empowerment, it forerunners categorized it into Graduate Teachers Corps which targeted 500,000 graduates recruitment, N-Power Knowledge targeting 25,000 non-graduates recruitment and N- Power Build which targets 75,000 nongraduates’ recruitment. It was gathered that the 500,000 graduates under the N-Power Corps programme will get computing devices that will contain information necessary for their specific engagement, as well as information for their continuous training and development. Participants are to provide teaching, instructional, and advisory solutions in 4 key areas namely agriculture, health, power tech and community education (Obadan, 2017).
The N-Power Agro volunteers are meant to function as intermediaries between research and farmers. They operate as facilitators and communicators, helping farmers in their decision-making and ensuring that appropriate knowledge is implemented to obtain the best results on farms. Through the N-Power Health programme, young graduates who form part of the 500,000 N-Power Corps members are trained to work as public health assistants.They teach preventive health to community members including pregnant women, children, families and individuals. They are also trained to provide basic diagnostic services (Aderonmu, 2017).The N-Power Teach programme engages qualified graduates for the benefit of basic education delivery in Nigeria. They are deployed as teaching assistants in primary and secondary schools across Nigeria. They are not to replace the current teachers, but are to work as support teachers, assisting with teaching, school management and other functions within the schools. They assist in taking basic education to children in marginalized communities (Aderonmu, 2017).
There is also the N-Power Knowledge programme which is the Federal Government’s first step towards diversifying to a knowledge economy. This programme works alongside the planned eight innovation hubs across the country to provide incubation and acceleration of the technology and creative industries. The programme is a ‘Training to Jobs’ initiative, essentially ensuring that participants can get engaged in the marketplace in an outsourcing capacity, as freelancers, as employees and as entrepreneurs (Federal Ministry of Youth Development, 2009).Indeed, the programme is carefully designed in such a manner that if well implemented, can help in further addressing the challenges of empowerment and subsequently, reduce poverty among the youths. But then of course, there appears to be some confusion of some sort in the way and manner the programme is being handled. The programme could not kick off in most states as scheduled. Some of the controversies included the fact that the names released so far are reportedly fraught with ‘ghost names’ (Bennel, 2017).
Poverty alleviation remains a major challenge of modern economies around the world today, Nigeria is no exception. Resulting from poor enterprise culture, the poverty alleviation programme in Nigeria is now a major driver of poverty and social vices. The poverty alleviation programmes in Nigeria have assumed multi-dimensional phenomena cutting across all facets of age group, educational strata and geographies. Poverty alleviation programmes are unevenly distributed across the age groups with youth between the ages of 18-35 being the greatest beneficiaries. More disturbing today, is the ever-rising trend of youth unemployment programmes in the country. The effective implementation of the programmes will discourage them from engaging in social vices which constrain in Rivers State. This study therefore seeks to assess Npower in reducing unemployment
Statement of the Problem
Some systemic hiccups, including insufficient information and wrong Bank Verification Number (BVN) have been identified as factors threatening to wreck the N-Power programme, introduced by the Federal Government, as a social safety net to reduce the rate of graduate unemployment plaguing the country. Specifically, the programme, which took off in December 2016 year is designed to provide a stopgap for 500,000 unemployed graduates of tertiary institutions over the next two years (Bennel, 2017).While the Federal Government is responsible for their monthly stipends, it is in partnership with state governments to verify selected unemployed graduates and deploy them to their places of primary assignment. Volunteer graduates are expected to serve in the communities where they are resident.
Under the programme, the first batch of 200,000 participants are to be paid N30, 000 a month and deployed by the respective state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to their different places of assignment, including classrooms as teachers (Federal Ministry of Youth Development, 2009). But some months into the programme has started facing different challenges, with about 13,000 participants alleging that they have not been paid their monthly stipend (Aderonmu, 2017).For instance, the Nigeria Interbank Systems (NIBSS), which provides the technical support for the programme has identified sundry challenges, including failure on the part of the beneficiaries to input correct Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and other details to match the information initially provided for processing. Funmi Olowosulu, a participant who was posted to LGEA Primary School, Lokoguma, Kogi State, where she teaches, is yet to receive her monthly stipend of N30, 000 three months after enrolling in the programme, because of inconsistency in her personal details, as well as her Bank Verification Number (BVN) (Bennel, 2017).
Another beneficiary, Umar Abdulrasheed, who spends N80 daily on transportation to work, has also not received his stipend for the same number of months. Additionally, he is indebted to his neighbours who usually bail him out of financial difficulties in the hope that he would defray same once his stipends are paid. The situation is not different in Rivers, Edo, Enugu and Kaduna states, where participants have protested and called on the Federal Government to come to their aid by addressing the numerous challenges facing the smooth operation of the programme. A good number of participants in the programme are frustrated because their expectations were yet to be met, three months after the programme kicked off (Aderonmu, 2017). Besides, some of the participants are disqualified for various reasons, ranging from being over-age, to falsification of information and being currently gainfully employed. Already, Rivers State government, in collaboration with the Federal Government has embarked on another verification exercise in order to afford those that missed out in the first phase come on board. The efforts on the part of the government in alleviating and eradicating poverty among the youth in Rivers State have paradoxically led to more problems for the youth in the state.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is on “assessment of N-power in reducing unemployment Alleviation in Nigeria” A study of Rivers State.
Specific objectives of the study therefore, are:
- To ascertain the activities of N-Power Agency towards unemployment alleviation in Rivers State
- To determine the extent to which N-Power programmes generate empowerment for the youths in Rivers
- To ascertain how N-Power Programmes alleviate poverty in Rivers
- To identify the problems affecting N-Power Agency/programmes
The following are the research questions of the study which would elicit answers:
- What are the activities of N-Power Agency towards employment?
- To what extent do N-Power programmes generate empowerment for the youth in Rivers State?
- How would N-Power Programmes alleviate poverty in Rivers State?
- What are some of problems affecting N-Power programmes towards poverty alleviation in Rivers State?
The following hypotheses have been formulated in this study for testing:
H01: There is no significant relationship between the activities of N-Power Agency/programmes and employement alleviation in Rivers State.
H02: There is no significant relationship between N-Power programmes and empowerment of the youths in Rivers State.
Significance of the Study
This study will be of benefit to university lecturers, students, government and the university management. The study will show to them the causes, the effects of unemployment and the need for entrepreneurship education e.g N-power in solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
To university lecturers, the study will unveil to them the areas to concentrate in the school syllabus in order to develop entrepreneurial minds of students for creative employment and also help the show the need for introducing entrepreneurship education into the school curriculum in Nigeria.
To the parents, the study of their children during child birth and training cannot be determined towards the course of study in higher institution. Lastly, the findings from the study will show to the government the role of entrepreneurship education in solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
Definition of Terms
According to Speelman , a skill is seen as ability to do something well, usually gained through training or experience. Skills are often acquired after a training session or after a practical.
- Skills acquisition
Skills acquisition is the ability to learn or acquire skills. It involves the development of a new skill, practice of a way of doing things usually gained through training or experience Speelman .
Unemployment or joblessness, as defined by the International Labour Organization (1982) occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past five weeks. The unemployment rate is a measure of the prevalence of unemployment and it is calculated as a%age by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by all individuals currently in the labour force. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (2011), unemployment rate is the proportion of those who are looking for work but could not find work for at least 40 hours during the reference period to the total currently active (labour force) population.