Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have passed resolutions insisting that the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) will implement the Special Public Works programme.

The lawmakers also urged the Ministry of Finance not to release any funds for the implementation of the Special Public Works programme if it would breach the due process, Appropriation Act 2020 (As Amended) as well as the NDE Act.

The resolutions were passed after deliberations on similar motions in both Chambers on Tuesday.

Background

There have been misunderstandings between the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the National Assembly regarding the implementing body. While the minister of state for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has said the ministry has to implement the programme, the lawmakers have said otherwise.

Mr Keyamo and the joint committee on labour were involved in a war of words two weeks ago over the planned employment of 774,000 Nigerians by the government. This was at a meeting aimed at discussing the progress of the planned employment.

N52 billion has been allocated for the Special Public Works Programme in the 2020 budget.

Mr Keyamo accused the lawmakers of wanting to sabotage the recruitment process despite receiving 15 per cent jobs slots.

The NDE, according to the lawmakers, is meant to implement the recruitment under a special works programme.

They had accused Mr Keyamo of hijacking the programme from the NDE. The minister hit back, saying they were the ones trying to take over the project. And the minister made the same counter-accusation.

The committee later demanded that the programme be suspended until the modalities for the implementation of the exercise have been explained to the lawmakers.

Unsatisfied with the resolution, Mr Keyamo insisted that the programme cannot be implemented without his approval according to the NDE Act.

He said the controversy surrounding the programme is an attempt by the National Assembly to bypass him in the implementation of the project.

But the federal government had on July 7, announced the commencement of the programme. Mr Keyamo confirmed to Punch newspapers that the president gave him the go-ahead to implement the process.