774,000 Jobs: FG approves extention of Special Public Works Programme - Keyamo

The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo has disclosed that the President Mohammadu Buhari led administration has approved the extention of the Special Public Works Programme.

Keyamo speaking in Nasarawa, Wednesday, at the opening of a three-day training/meeting of zonal directors and state coordinators of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) said President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Directorate to develop a blueprint for the second phase of the programme. 

The Minister in the statement captured in Today's Guardian https://t.guardian.ng/news/fg-extends-special-public-works-programme stated:

“The Federal Government has expressed its desire to extend the programme. Therefore, we need to go back to Mr. President with a clear template on what we did and what we need to do to improve.”

Keyamo assuring the continuation of the Programme however noted that as at this moment, it's not clear when and how the second phase of the programme will be conducted.

He said: “We really do not know when the next programme will commence and do not also know the format it will take. This meeting will formulate all of that and then submit our report to Mr. President who will decide the next line of action.

“But what is sure is that the programme will continue. This workshop is to take stock of the challenges that we confronted in the implementation process of the 774,000 SPW and fine-tune the processes going forward.”

The Minister who emphasised on the recent events in the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) further disclosed that the attempt to mitigate the good intent of the programme prompted the unceremonious sack of the immediate past Director-General of NDE, Dr Ladan Argungu.

“There were attempts at embarking on a ‘second list, which was why the immediate former Director-General was removed. When I saw that, I complained to Mr. President that the programme might fail because people did not follow the laid down guidelines.

“People that complained they did not get paid were not on the list that the supervising minister approved. The allegation that I hijacked the list did not make sense because I am the supervising minister of the NDE. The buck stops on my table. While I was the one that would choose those that would be on the list, it is my job to set the policy on how to choose the beneficiaries.”

Mr Keyamo quelling critics who alleged that the Special Public Works Programme is aimed at rewarding party cronies noted that “the programme is different from loan schemes that give money to build cottage industries - the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does that,” adding that “the vulnerable people found in churches, mosques, markets, civil society, and labour groups were part of the committee that chose the beneficiaries.”

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