The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has assured that President Muhammadu Buhari would approve the implementation of the second phase of the Extended Special Public Works (ESPW) programme.

Keyamo also assured all verified participants in the programme across the 774 Local Government Areas that they would be fully paid.

The Minister revealed that about N40 billion had been paid so far, adding that processes should be expedited by the coordinators to ensure that the remaining N6 billion was disbursed to those yet to be paid.

According to NAN, this was made known by the Minister during the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Day at the 2021 Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF) on Friday in Lagos.

Keyamo said the NDE had been able to successfully implement the ESPW programme which was specifically targeted at the poorest of the poor in Nigeria.

The Special Public Works seeks to identify and exploit employment opportunities that abound in the public works sector by organizing the skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled persons that are unemployed to carry out utility, environmental, infrastructural development and sanitation works.

What the Minister of State is saying

Keyamo said that under the intervention, 1,000 unskilled and unemployed persons from each of the 774 LGAs were engaged to provide environment specific public works services in their immediate localities adding that the services were rendered for a period of 3 months with each participant paid the sum of N20,000 per month.

He said, “I am informed that currently, officers of the NDE are out in the field carrying out an Impact Evaluation exercise to imperially establish the extent to which the ESPW has fared with a view to improving on areas of need in subsequent outings.

“Despite the challenges we encountered while implementing the programme, I want to assure Nigerians that the participants who have so far been captured and verified by the designated banks will be fully paid.

“Let me use this opportunity to deeply appreciate the President for his pro-poor posture. You will agree with me that in the history of Nigeria as an independent nation, no government has implemented a programme that has addressed the issue of mass unemployment and social inclusion at the grassroots like the current government.

“I am optimistic that the president in his magnanimity —and pro-poor disposition will approve the implementation of the ESPW in the coming year.’’

What you should know

Recall that about a week ago, Keyamo said that the Federal Government of Nigeria was yet to disburse the sum of N7.3 billion for the remaining beneficiaries of the 774,000 Special Public Works Programme.

The Minister blamed the delay on bank challenges and stated that the government is committed to fixing the bottlenecks before the end of the year.