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FG kicks off 774,000 special public works programme

After several delays, the Federal Government has finally flagged off commencement of the controversial Special Public Works Programme (SPWP) designed to engage 774,000 unemployed Nigerians, nationwide, for three months.
The programme, which was expected to have commenced on October 1, 2020, was designed by President Muhammadu Buhari to mitigate the lack of job opportunities in rural areas through a short term engagement of 1,000 unemployed persons per local government area (LGA), who would be paid a modest stipend of N20,000 for the three months’ duration of the programme.
The itinerant workers would be expected to undertake roads’ rehabilitation, social housing construction, urban and rural sanitation, health extension and other services.
However, the programme had suffered some set backs due to a misunderstanding between the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, and members of the National Assembly, which led to an indefinite suspension of the programme by the law makers.
Speaking at the official flag off ceremony on Tuesday in Abuja, Keyamo said the SPW programme was meant to protect the most vulnerable Nigerians from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty, hunger, and joblessness.
While noting that the programme was conceived following the success of the pilot scheme recorded in eight states in addressing insecurity, he said countries like India and Malaysia had used the programme to successfully fight poverty.

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