We can’t vouch for all 774,000 public work participants, some maybe ghosts —Nigerian govt

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Despite the fanfare that greeted the Special Public Works Programme (SPWP) the federal government has expressed worry it may not be able to pay all 774,000 participants.

Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, stated this during the Presidential Communication Team’s weekly briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

According to the Minister the programme’s targeted 774,000 beneficiaries may not be achieved because of the peculiarities of the screening process.

“In a large programme like this, we may not achieve the 774,000 to the last number but for me, if we are able to achieve and pay up to 600,000 persons, we would have achieved a lot,” he said.

“The remaining balance we would return to government’s coffers if we cannot have real people who will come and be entitled to that. I mean real people with real identity and correct Bankers Verification Number (BVN) so that we will not resort to paying ghosts, we will return the balance,” Keyamo further said.

The SPWP was approved October 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari and is domiciled in the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), a parastatal of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The programme seeks to address the problem of unemployment across the country, especially in the rural areas, thus making the unemployed youth more useful to themselves and the society.

Speaking in Abuja on the program’s success, Keyamo also disclosed that N24.8 billion in stipends had been given to 413,630 of the 774,000 participants.

“As at this morning, people have started receiving their payment of N40,000 each; that is for those who have received N20,000 before but for those who had not received before and have finished their work, we are paying them N60,000 each. So you will hear jubilation across the country because of that and this N60,000 will save so many lives across the country,” he said.

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“This is surely going to reflate the economy because we have designed it in a way that all the Local Government Areas will benefit. It is going to boost the economy from the very bottom because the beneficiaries are going to add this money to their businesses”.

The minister assured Nigerians that the programme would not go down the drain at the expiration of the tenure of the current administration in 2023 because it had been approved by the Federal Executive Council.

“This programme has been approved about four or five weeks ago by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). This is one of the various programmes that government will be implementing every year and people will be enrolled into the programme every year”.

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