Dec 1 take-off of 774,000 public works jobs shaky

Dec 1 take-off of 774,000 public works jobs shaky

Power play between Minister of State for Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo and the Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Nasir Ladan, may have stalled the take-off of the Public Special Works (PSW) programme.

The Federal Government designed the programme to employ 1,000 artisans and unskilled workers from each of the 774 localgovernment areas. The target is to create 774,000 jobs for three months.

Each of the beneficiaries is to be paid N20,000 monthly.

At the centre of the battle is the control of the programme.

The two government officials have not agreed on when to officially launch the programme, it was learnt yesterday.

The NDE is under the supervision of Keyamo.

Twice, the Federal Government had announced the date for the programme’s kick-off. It was originally scheduled for October 1 but the date was postponed.

The minister cited delay in the release of funds, and the  raining season as reasons for the change in date.

Keyamo later announced November 1 as the new date for the launch with a staggered flag-off in some states planned between November 5 and 15 this month. But, nothing has happened.

News men  learnt that during his agency’s budget defence, the NDE boss told the Senate Committee on Labour and Employment that the 774, 000 jobs will officially commence on December 1.

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.”

According to the sources, 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.”

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