FG’s 774,000 Jobs Begin Today, November 1st, 2020

The federal government’s Special Public Works (SPW) programme aimed at employing 774,000 youths across the 774 local government councils will kick off today, with a formal launch expected on Friday.
The project which was initially slated to commence October 1 was shifted to November after the minister of state for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN) had written a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari, informing him that most of the proposed project sites were still water-logged as the rains had not abated.

However, Tunde Moshood, the special assistant on media to the minister of state for Labour and Employment, told our correspondent over the phone that a formal launch will now be next Friday, November 6. He said, “Yes, it is going ahead. November first is Sunday, so there can’t be an official lunch on Sunday”.

He said the Minister of state for Labour, Festus Keyamo will openly declare the commencement of the programme in Delta. We gathered that the programme will start with a test run in 18 states, while other states will join at a later date. Many successful beneficiaries of the progaramme have received text messages from banks and their local government confirming their participation.

Meanwhile, stakeholders have applauded the move, saying the initiative, if not politicised midway, will give birth to economic prosperity, even as it would reduce in the long run the growing unemployment rate in the country. The stakeholders who spoke in separate interviews with our representatives yesterday advised that a systemic, multidimensional economy with a wide approach was important in tackling the growing problem of unemployment.

On his part, the director-general of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, advised that to make the government initiative works, there must be creation of an enabling environment for investors, especially the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Yusuf said, “We need to focus on factors impeding the performance of these businesses. We need to address infrastructure issues, access to foreign exchange, regulatory challenges, funding, technology, ports customs, taxes, fees and levies, as well as bureaucracy, to mention a few of the constraints.

“Supporting the creation of new businesses is a good idea, but facilitating the growth of existing businesses is more impactful and more sustainable. We need to deal with all dimensions of the unemployment challenge.”