• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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PDP Reps boycott FG’s 774,000 jobs scheme

Festus-Keyamo-774,000 jobs

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives has dissociated itself from the Special Public Works Programme of the Buhari led All Progressives Congress, (APC) Administration targeted at creating 774,000 jobs.

The Caucus in a statement signed by its Chairman, Kingsley Chinda on Monday urged its members to ignore the letters written to Senators and House of Representatives Members by APC State Coordinators of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) on behalf of the Minister of State (Labour and Employment), asking for the nomination of 30 and 25 individuals respectively from each Local Government Area in their constituency.

According to Chinda, the Caucus considers the correspondence a condemnable attempt to bribe and hoodwink the institution of the National Assembly into complicity in the misapplication of Nigeria’s scarce resources for the implementation of a questionable, misguided, absurd and arguably unlawful scheme that alarmingly intends to expend N52 billion under the guise of “creating employment” for only three months.

“This regrettably is the most unsustainable employment scheme implemented by any government.
While the caucus espouses the eradication of poverty and the creation of gainful and sustainable employment for the burgeoning population of unemployed Nigerians under this administration, it flies in the face of reason and common sense why this government insists on expending enormous resources for the implementation of a politically motivated transient Programme, dubiously shrouded as “employment” having no empowering or enduring benefit to ordinary Nigerians especially when several viable and veritable job and wealth creating alternatives exist for application of the funds”.

“Elementary division of the approved Programme budget of N52 billion by 774 LGA’S in Nigeria implies expenditure of N67.184million (about $150,000) in each LGA of Nigeria which if applied judiciously and transparently will suffice for the establishment of a viable Industry in each LGA that for several years to come will provide gainful, enduring and sustainable direct and indirect employment for more than 100 skilled and unskilled poor unemployed Nigerians per LGA and provide an invaluable opportunity for future growth, skill acquisition and economic development.

“From the estimated sum of N67.184million intended to be expended in each LGA of Nigeria, N1 million per SME can be utilized for the creation and development of 67 SME’S per LGA who will engage in viable and lucrative businesses in the Agriculture, mining and other value chains that in most instances would be peculiar to each individual LGA and create gainful employment for up to 3 or more poor Nigerians per SME.

“The creation and development of 67 SMES in each LGA will provide at least 134 actual sustainable jobs per LGA and 103,716 nationwide. The impact on Nigeria’s economy and GDP will be astronomical and will set Nigeria on the path to economic growth and development. The gains to Nigerians and Nigeria’s socio-economic growth and development can be sustainable and enduring if the Nigerian government (Executive and Legislature) tackles the three cardinal challenges faced by SME’S which according to the International Labour Organization (ILO 2019) include Regulatory Environment”, he stated.

Chinda noted that the inability of the Buhari-led APC administration to conceptualize viable ideas for the expenditure of N52 billion for the benefit of ordinary poor Nigerians as has been eloquently elucidated by the PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives showed the dearth in cerebral capacity and acumen within the administration to proffer solutions to the myriad of issues bedeviling the nation.

He said: “The Buhari administration’s insistence that the Special Public Works Programme is an employment intensive scheme implies that the monthly stipend of N20,000 proposed by this administration as remuneration for target workers is a violation of the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act 2019 enacted under this same administration which stipulates in Section 3(1-3) that every employer shall pay a minimum wage of not less than N30,000 to each worker every month, the minimum wage shall be the minimum total amount of money an employer of labour is required to pay the lowest paid worker or employee monthly and any agreement for the payment of wages less than the National minimum wage is void.

“The powers to grant exemptions conferred on the Minister of Labour and Employment in Section 4(2) of the act requires an order through the National Labour Advisory Council and published in the Federal Government Gazette taking into consideration reports from National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission or other such body that may make representation for such exemption.

“The PDP Caucus is unaware of the constitution of the National Labour Advisory Council by this administration till date as is statutorily required and as was demanded for by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) since 2018 or any subsisting order for exemption published in the Federal Government Gazzette which if in existence is another violation of the Act having not been issued through the National Labour Advisory Council. There is also no record of any report from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission or any other body making representation to the Minister for exemption from the provisions of the National Minimum Wages Act.

“The President who endorsed the payment of N20,000 for implementation of this programme, the Minister who has hijacked and is superintending its implementation and the NDE’s Director General who is the agency’s accounting officer are in violation of extant provisions of the National Minimum Wages Act and should be sanctioned according to provisions of Section 9 of the Act. Ironically the Act never envisaged that the Minister who in Sections 11-13 is saddled with the enforcement and monitoring of implementation of the Act would be its chief violator.

“The probable illegality of this Programme is further emphasized by certain actions of the Minister of State Labour and Employment which appear to be in violation of the NDE Act. All powers bestowed on the Minister in the Act are clearly on the substantive Minister, the Minister of States assertion about being the supervising Minister of the NDE is alien to the Act, any internal policy’s or directives within the Ministry flowing from Nigeria’s flawed Ministerial appointment system cannot supersede provisions of formal legislation”.