President Muhammadu Buhari considered grant for all employees of private schools in the country to help them mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but backed off after it became clear such payments would be too costly, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said Monday.
Osinbajo said the government decided instead to “rationalise”, and pay some employees.
About 100,000 workers in private schools have so far been paid, the government said.
A statement by Laolu Akande, the spokesperson to the vice president said Osinbajo stated this during two virtual interactive sessions on Monday.
“What the President wanted was to pay every private sector employee in the education sector. But the cost was humongous so we had to rationalise,” he said.
The government has rolled out multiple initiatives that provide cash payments and other support to some businesses and individuals in response to the economic impact of the pandemic. But those interventions, under the Economic Sustainability Plan, ESP, are seen as largely ineffective as they have only reached a tiny percentage of the population.
The statement said so far over 146, 811 transport sector beneficiaries have been paid N30,000 one-off grant each, while 114,557 artisans have received payments.
“One of the very important things for us, when we were drafting the Plan and design, was that we wanted to look at certain critical sectors of the Nigerian economy that required intervention in the wake of the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, we recognized that schools were vital,” the vice president said.
“We designed the ESP to focus on certain critical sectors, and the education sector, particularly private schools, was one of them because, during the lockdown, private schools were in a much difficult place.
“So, we felt that we should also support private schools through the MSME Survival Fund platform,” he added.