The Special Public Works in the Rural Areas is an employment- intensive technique acquired and adapted by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) from one of the capacity-building collaborations with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in the late 1980’s to the middle of the 1990’s. The Project was tagged ILO/NDE Labour Based/ Light Equipment Methods of Construction, Rehabilitation and maintenance of Public Infrastructure.
Many questions have been flying in the air about the program kick of date that was suppose to be 1st October, 2020.
There was a plan to communicate openly including publishing of selected names according to LGA using the portal https://specialpublicworks.gov.ng/ but that too was defeated.
The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, said there were plans to move tools to various LGAs that would enable the 1st November commencement after postponing it from 1st October, 2020.
The Nation on 17th November, 2020 titled “Dec 1 take-off of 774,000 Public Works jobs shaky” however reported that contrary to the earlier position of the Mr Keyamo on the November 1st take-off date, the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Nasir Ladan during his agency’s budget defence told the Senate Committee on Labour and Employment that the 774, 000 jobs will officially commence on December 1.
According to the report exclusively from The Nation, sources at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment said the announcement by the NDE director at the National Assembly came to the Minister as a “rude shock” adding that the NDE boss did not discuss any such matter with the Minister.
One of the sources, who pleaded anonymity, said: “We heard the announcement on television the same way too and we were all surprised. Even the minister too heard it on national television just like everyone else, but what can we do?
“The man (DG NDE) is giving a date on a national television that the minister is not aware of; that tells you that there is something at play. The minister is not aware of the December 1 date.”
The source further emphasised that Keyamo would not degenerate to the level of fighting his “subordinate even though the DG has been disobeying the directives of the minister. The minister will not degenerate to that level.”
The Nation’s reports furthered that besides unilaterally announcing a new date for the take-off, Ladan also told the lawmakers that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N26 billion for the take-off of the programme.
It added that when contacted, Keyamo declined to comment on the issue last night. The minister didn’t pick calls placed to his official mobile lines.
But, sources within the ministry said the government was looking at the December 1 announced by Ladan to officially commence the programme.
One of the sources said preparations were ongoing as toward the kick-off of the PSW.
He said: “The two ogas (Keyamo and Ladan) are yet to agree on when to launch the programme. They sent out people to go and find out the level of preparedness in the states. You know states have different levels of preparedness and they want to launch it on the same day.
“They are getting reports. I am sure by the end of this week, it will be clear to everybody and a decision will be taken.”
As at this moment, no official communication has been made to clearly support the 1st December kick-off but going be the DG’s announcement, we infer that the Program has started and first payment is expected by month end as money has been released for the program.
The Special Public Works Program is a 3 month program in which each successful beneficiary would be paid a monthly stipend of N20,000 as part of the President Mohammadu Buhari’s palliative measures to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable Nigerians.
Those engaged in the program would be involved in mild activities such as clearing of gutters, clearing of market square, traffic control and other minor activities that would be assigned to them as a necessity in each of the States of the Federation.
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