The Nigerian minister of state for labour, Festus Keyamo, has said the federal government’s plans to employ 774,000 Nigerians in all the 774 local governments will kick off in October.
Keyamo who spoke at a press conference on Friday said the employment programme picks up from the Pilot Special Public Works Programme in the Rural Areas, which was domiciled in the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) for implementation.
He said the Special Public Works in the Rural Areas was 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 1980s to the middle of the 1990s.
Keyamo said, “The pilot programme earlier approved by Mr. President was designed to mitigate lack of job opportunities in the rural areas through a short-term engagement of One thousand (1,000) unemployed persons per Local Government Area for a period of three (3) months.
“It is a dry season/off season transient job programme and was originally designed for the rehabilitation/maintenance of public and social infrastructure. Participants were to be paid an allowance of N20,000 monthly and were to be recruited largely from the pool of unskilled persons ordinarily resident in those rural areas.”
Beneficiaries of the pilot scheme, he said would be engaged in drainage digging and clearance, irrigation canals clearance, rural feeder road maintenance, maintenance of the Great Green Wall nurseries and orchards in Borno, Jigawa and Katsina.
A total of 40,000 direct transient jobs are expected to be created in the eight pilot states.
The labour minister said, “You will recall that on Monday 6th of April, 2020, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning in a Press conference, announced the approval of Mr President for the extension of this programme to all 36 states and the FCT from October- December 2020 as a means of mitigating the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy.”
The Programme, he said was also expected to provide modest stipends for itinerant workers to undertake roads rehabilitation and social housing construction, urban and rural sanitation, health extension and other critical services.
“Consequently and in exercise of my powers as Supervising Minister under Section 16 (1) of the NDE Act, I inaugurated a Special Inter-ministerial Committee on the Extended Special Public Works on Wednesday, 29th April, 2020.
“Over 3,000 projects and 42,000 Manpower are being proposed by them. In a Steering capacity, the Committee has also made certain recommendations to me,” Keyamo stated.
He added, “Having reviewed all the recommendations of this Inter-ministerial Committee, I believe that the selection of the beneficiaries and projects should be a local affair and not be done from a room in Abuja. Consequently, in line with Section 16(1) of the N.D.E Act, I have decided to constitute special committees in each State of the Federation for the purpose of deliberating, selecting and recommending to my office the names of the 1,000 persons from each of the Local Government Areas in the States to be engaged for this programme.
“The programme starts on the 1st of October, 2020 and we are already tight on schedule. In the next two weeks we will empanel and empower all the State Selection Committees so they can commence the onerous task of selection of beneficiaries and projects locally.”