Festus Keyamo, SAN, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, has given reasons for allocating slots of the proposed 774,000 jobs to politicians.
Keyamo’s explanation was contained in a letter addressed to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity, and the Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity, a copy of which was made available to DAILY POST on Monday.
He wrote the letter to the NASS Joint Committees ahead of his second appearance there on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 12 noon.
The letter reads in part, “Let me state clearly here that all members of the State Selection Committees are not persons holding any official position in any of the registered political parties.
“If any of them listed is an official of any political party, then the State Chairman of the Selection Committee of the SPW shall fill that position with another person representing that interest. I started this in order to make this process as apolitical as possible.”
On why the States’ selection of committees instead of online applications, Keyamo explained that, “The reasons are:
(a) the categories of those to be engaged (which are largely unskilled workers) will not have the capacity and access to make online applications.
(b) online applications would not ensure that the 1,000 persons to be selected would come from each Local Government Areas as, for example 300 persons may apply online from Lagos State, claiming to be applying to work in Sokoto State.
(c) the selection process would be localized and would absolve us in Abuja the responsibility of selecting persons from different States.”
On slots to political office holders, he explained, “However, in the spirit of transparency and because of the need to be honest before Nigerians, we have said before that we are not unmindful of the fact that political office holders are also representatives of the people.
“We cannot also totally ignore them in the selection process. Their Constituents are also Nigerians. What we have tried to resist is A TOTAL TAKEOVER OF THE PROGRAMME BY POLITICIANS AND POLITICAL ACTORS, hence the multi-sectorial composition of the States’ Selection Committees.
“As a result, the States’ Selection Committees have been instructed to allot to political officeholders like our distinguished Senators, Honourable members, Ministers and Governors, a number in total not exceeding fifteen per cent of the total beneficiaries in that State. This is to ensure that majority of Nigerians who do not belong to any of the political divides actually benefit substantially from this programme.
“The actual break down of these numbers between the officeholders have been communicated to the States’ Selection Committees. But if I understood Hon. Muhammad Wudil very well during his interview on HARD COPY on Channels Television, he alluded to the fact that he is uncomfortable with the fact that Ministers got a certain number of slots (30) from all the Local Government Areas in a State, whilst he as a Member of the House of Representatives got slots from only the Local Government Areas within his Constituency.
“But he should remember that there is only one Minister in almost all the States (except a few that have two), whilst a State like Kano where he comes from has 24 members of the House of Representatives. If those 24 members each takes slots from all the Local
Government Areas available, there will be nothing left again for everyday people to share.
“Finally on this point, suffice to say that those persons to be recommended for engagement by political office holders that constitute the 15 per cent so mentioned, must also be eligible persons to participate in this programme.
“I am also pleased to inform you that for the purpose of transparency and accountability in the process, the President approved the use of select banks to register and collate data of those to be engaged. The banks would open accounts for all beneficiaries and in the process obtain BVN for those without accounts. Consequently, all payments would be made from the CBN directly to the accounts of the beneficiaries.
“The banks will also simultaneously register the participants of the Special Works Programme. Apart from the transparency and accountability this will achieve, one of the benefits of the exercise is that more Nigerians would be captured in the financial system thereby enhancing the financial inclusion drive of Government. Eventually, the data collated by the banks would be passed on to us for use in the programme implementation.