The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has addressed the controversy surrounding the planned employment of 774,000 Nigerians by the federal government as well as the clash between the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, and the National Assembly joint committee on Labour.
Both the minister and members of the panel were involved in a war of words at a meeting aimed at discussing the progress of the planned employment.
The National Assembly had in the 2020 budget appropriated N52 billion for the Special Public Works Programme aimed at employing 774,000 citizens, a thousand from each of the 774 local government areas in the country.
My Keyamo had accused the lawmakers of attempting to sabotage the recruitment process despite receiving 15 per cent jobs slots.
Speaking with journalists on Monday, however, Mr Lawan said the committee was right to ask questions regarding the recruitment process.
He said the National Assembly was conscious that the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) would be the agency to implement the programme.
“We know NDE has the capacity to implement the programme. So that programme is an NDE programme approved by the National Assembly.
“It is within the purview of our committees to demand an explanation on the process and procedure through which the programme would be implemented.
“So our joint committee was right. The committee was right to ask the questions. We are meant to interrogate the processes through which such programmes will be implemented,” he said.
Just like the committee, the lawmaker insisted that the programme be suspended “until such explanations are provided on how the programme will be implemented.”
“We stand by that. The National Assembly is saying that until the executive arm of government comes to explain how they will implement that programme; we passed the budget for NDE to go and implement because it has the capacity. Our purpose is not just to approve money.
“Only NDE will implement this programme. The NDE led by the ministry of labour will have to come and explain.”
He added that it will be unfair to say that the legislature and executive are not on the same page because of an action by someone in the executive.
The committee in a joint statement demanded that the programme be suspended until the modalities for the exercise have been explained to the lawmakers.
It also mandated its Committees on Labour and Employment to immediately invite the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, and any other relevant officials of the ministry to brief the joint committee on the modalities for the implementation of the programme.
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