774,000 Jobs: FG Directs Banks To Pay Participants

The federal government on Monday directed banks to immediately pay all the participants of the Extended Special Public Works (ESPW) programme.

The banks include Fidelity, UBA, Heritage, Zenith, Access, FCMB and Yobe Micro Finance.

Akelicious had on Thursday, June 17, exclusively reported that thousands of the participants were yet to be paid their stipend while others said they were paid only once. Others alleged that they were short-changed during table payment as they were not given up to N20,000.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Labour, National Directorate of Employment and the participating banks met yesterday where they reviewed the Daily Trust story among other issues.

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They did not fault the story and instead said all the stakeholders were working hard to resolve grey areas that clouded the programme which was launched with pomp and pageantry.

The three months intervention was launched on January 5, 2021 and ended on April 5.

It was meant to cushion the effect of COVID-19 by providing jobs to 774,000 people in all the local government areas in the federation.

The participants were to be paid N20,000 each for three months. Some sources said the money might be in custody of some banks.

Besides not paying them, Daily Trust gathered from some sources that the selected participants were not issued with working tools despite the N4 billion earmarked for the purpose.

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The actual amount released for the payment has not been made public amid allegations of wrongdoings.

Contacted last night, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo who supervises the public works programme, said the amount so far released was N26 billion even though some sources said it was much higher.

When asked to explain the whereabouts of the working tools purchased for the programme, Keyamo said he was not involved in procurement and asked our reporter to contact the NDE.

Contacted, the Director-General of the NDE, Malam Nuhu Fikpo, asked our reporter to meet him in the office today for details on the amounts released by the FG, what was so far paid to the beneficiaries and amount spent on logistics.

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