Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Saturday, said the Special Public Works Programme will boost the Nigerian economy.
He stated this today while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ monitored by The PUNCH.
Mohammed also said Nigeria did not exit recession by accident, adding that the policies of the government were responsible for the development.
We did not exit recession by accident, it was because of the hard work and the planning of the government,” the minister said.
Speaking on some of the policies of the government which made the exit possible, Mohammed said, “What we did was that we pumped money into the system, we did so by creating jobs, we did so through three major programmes: the first is the 1,000 jobs of public works that was given to each local governments and we have 774 local governments, When you have 774 young men working on public works, on roads, it goes a lot to boost your economy.
“There is what we call survival funds which the federal ministry of industry and investment supervised. One of the things we said we must do is that we must prevent loss of jobs and create new ones and we must make sure that MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) does not collapse. So, what did we do with survival funds? We asked companies to employ between five and 50 people, we gave them payroll support for about three months and that payroll support went to about 500,000 MSMEs
“Then, we also did what we call a one-off grant whereby we gave N20,000 to artisans, hairdressers, keke napep (riders), and this went to about 333,000 such individuals.”
The PUNCH had earlier reported that Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, came under fire when viral photos show him sharing wheelbarrows and cutlasses to beneficiaries of the programme which involves manual labour with their immediate communities.
Keyamo had also said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), approved the commencement of the initiative.
The programme, which engages 774,000 unemployed Nigerians, kicked in January after several postponements.
The programme, designed to employ 1,000 Nigerians from each of the 774 local government areas in the country was initially scheduled for launch on October 1, last year but it ran into hitches following the power play between Keyamo and the Director-General, National Directorate of Employment, Nasir Ladan, who was sacked last year.
Each of the 774,000 workers will earn N20,000 monthly for three months duration of the job, amounting to about N46.44 billion.