We may extend 774,000 public work timeframe—Keyamo

 The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), on Monday said the Federal Government may extend the Special Public Works (SPW) programme, which will create 774,000 jobs.

He said alternatively, the government may make the job scheme an annual event.

He said he intervened in the formula for sharing the 774,000 jobs under Special Public Works (SPW) scheme.

He said the Federal Government will retain the original plan of conceding only 15 per cent of the job slots to governors, National Assembly members, ministers and other interest groups.

The minister promised that the interest of the public will get uppermost consideration.

Keyamo, who spoke exclusively with our correspondent, however, said there may be a few adjustments to the sharing formula, depending on local circumstances.

The minister spoke against the backdrop of complaints that the three-month job timeline might not make any impact on the beneficiaries.

He said: “I am confident that the SPW will succeed 100 per cent. We limited the scope to three months for the 774,000 workers because it is an expensive programme and we are facing drop in revenue.

“There are so many exit strategies that the government is considering. Apart from that, the government may extend the programme or make it an annual event.”

He faulted claims by the Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment, Dr. Nasir Mohammed Ladan, that the job sharing formula will accommodate more concessions.

Keyamo said: “The report on the sharing formula must have been a misapprehension of the instructions I gave to them to implement.

“I did not give any instruction on 40 per cent rise for them to implement. We are sticking to the original formula of 15 per cent concession to political office holders. There may be a few adjustments here and there depending on local circumstances.”

On his role on the project, the minister said: “I have not received superior instructions from my bosses. The presidency did not give contrary instructions on my role.”

Keyamo explained that the ministry has been working seamlessly with NDE.

“We are working harmoniously with NDE on this issue. That is why you can see a joint team (from the ministry and NDE) going around to supervise the preparations for the take off of the project all over the country.

“By the law establishing NDE, the ministry is an integral part of NDE. We cannot separate the two of them. The DG and I have held several meetings and we are on the same page on these issues.

The Minister insisted that the October 1 take-off date for the project is realistic.

“We are working very hard to make the date realistic.”

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