Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The federal government has said that it will engage 774,000 unemployed persons nationwide to rehabilitate and maintain public and social infrastructure.
The programme, which is part of federal government’s job creation drive, is designed to “mitigate lack of job opportunity in the rural areas through short term engagement of 1,000 unemployed persons per Local Government Area (LGA) for three months with a payment of N20,000 monthly allowance to the beneficiaries.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Extended Special Public Works, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo, (SAN), said its mandate was to devise a strategy for the implementation of the programme.
Keyamo said President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2019 had approved a pilot special public works programme, for implementation by the National Directorate for Employment (NDE) in five local government areas in each of the eight pilot states.
The minister described the programme as “a dry/off season transient job programme targeting the rehabilitation/maintenance of public and social infrastructure with the participants largely drawn from the pool of unskilled rural persons.”
He said the approval for the scheme came following the success of the pilot programme, which was carried out between February and April 2020.
He explained that the federal government would leverage on its gain by approving the extension of the programme to all the 774 LGAs in the federation from the initial five LGAs in eight states.
He also noted that the approval by the president for the extension of the programme and the subsequent rise in its magnitude, necessitated the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee for effective planning and proper implementation.
The minister asked the committee to collate the respective rural programmes in each ministry; review the implementation of the pilot programme and make recommendations where necessary; recommend appropriate monitoring and evaluation mechanism and, develop an achievable implementation time line.
He expressed confidence of the federal government in the ability of the committee to carry out the task before it diligently.