The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to put on hold the planned take-off of the 774,000 special works programme scheduled to commence January 5, 2021.
The lawmakers in the Green Chamber, therefore, asked the Ministry of Finance not to release the funds meant for the programme until some issues affecting the integrity of the programme are fully sorted out.
Similarly, they condemned the sack of the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Mohammed Ladan Argungu, and asked the Executive immediately facilitates his reinstatement.
The resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance, titled, ‘Urgent need to stop the circumvention of due process by the federal/ministry of labour and productivity in allocating the 774,000 in the special public works programme,’ sponsored by Hon. Olajide Olatubosun.
While moving the motion, the lawmaker recalled that in October 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari approved a Pilot Special Public Works Programme for the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to be implemented in eight states.
He pointed out that the Special Public Works in the rural areas was an employment intensive technique acquired and adapted by the NDE from one of the capacity-building collaborations with the International Labour Organisation (lLO) in the middle of the 1990s.
The legislator recalled that the National Assembly appropriated the sum of N52 billion in the 2020 fiscal year for the Programme out of which each beneficiary will be paid N20,000 monthly over a period of three months.
He expressed concern that if the programme was allowed to start without following due process, a bad precedent would have been set for implementing programmes of this nature in the future.
Hon Olatubosun clarified: ”The Minister of State for Labour inaugurated state selection committee for each state of the federation, while the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) as part of its statutory mandate was responsible for the registration of the beneficiaries.
“Concerned that the state selection committees in most states of the federation bypassed and ignored the list of beneficiaries compiled by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and forwarded a separate list of purported beneficiaries to the office of the minister of state for labour.
“Greatly concerned that most Nigerians that have submitted their names to the NDE offices in their respective states have been unjustly excluded from this programme which the minister of state for labour announced will start on January 5, 2021”, the lawmaker added.
Contributing to the deliberations on the motion, Hon. Onofiok Luke pointed out the decision of the government to sack the Director General of the NDE was ill-advised given the fact that the DG’s stance on the implementation of the project was in public interest.