774,000 jobs: FG directs banks to pay participants | Dailytrust

774,000 jobs: FG directs banks to pay participants

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige

The federal government on Monday directed banks to immediately pay all the participants of the Extended Special Public Works (ESPW) programme.

The banks include Fidelity, UBA, Heritage, Zenith, Access, FCMB and Yobe Micro Finance.

Daily Trust had on Thursday, June 17, exclusively reported that thousands of the participants were yet to be paid their stipend while others said they were paid only once. Others alleged that they were short-changed during table payment as they were not given up to N20,000.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Labour, National Directorate of Employment and the participating banks met yesterday where they reviewed the Daily Trust story among other issues.

They did not fault the story and instead said all the stakeholders were working hard to resolve grey areas that clouded the programme which was launched with pomp and pageantry.

The three months intervention was launched on January 5, 2021 and ended on April 5.

It was meant to cushion the effect of COVID-19 by providing jobs to 774,000 people in all the local government areas in the federation.

The participants were to be paid N20,000 each for three months. Some sources said the money might be in custody of some banks.

Besides not paying them, Daily Trust gathered from some sources that the selected participants were not issued with working tools despite the N4 billion earmarked for the purpose.

The actual amount released for the payment has not been made public amid allegations of wrongdoings.

Contacted last night, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo who supervises the public works programme, said the amount so far released was N26 billion even though some sources said it was much higher.

When asked to explain the whereabouts of the working tools purchased for the programme, Keyamo said he was not involved in procurement and asked our reporter to contact the NDE.

Contacted, the Director-General of the NDE, Malam Nuhu Fikpo, asked our reporter to meet him in the office today for details on the amounts released by the FG, what was so far paid to the beneficiaries and amount spent on logistics.

The meeting of the stakeholders

After the Daily Trust report, the federal government yesterday summoned seven banks handling the payment of the stipend.

Giving an update after the meeting, Keyamo directed all the participants, who had no problems with their bank accounts, to immediately proceed to their banks and clarify issues.

He said: “For those who do not have problems with their BVNs but have not received payments, they should go to the banks that registered them to clarify the issues.

“The banks are mandated to issue ATM cards to all participants. Participants are therefore encouraged to collect their ATM cards from the banks so that they can access their payments from various cash points without necessarily going to the banks.

“Participants are assured that their stipends would be paid as soon as all issues are resolved.”

The minister explained further that the meeting agreed that banks were no longer restricted to their initially allotted local governments.

According to him, “Consequently, selected participants are at liberty to approach any of the seven selected banks nearest to the local government where they were selected.

“So far, the NDE has authorised the payments of one-month stipends to all those that have been verified. As shown above, all parties are making strenuous efforts to resolve issues of those yet to receive the first month stipends before the commencement of the second tranche of payments.”

The meeting had in attendance, representatives of the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment, who were: Olua Davidson, Faniyi Fatogun and Christopher Omoaghe.

Others were: representatives of the National Directorate of Employment, Olaomi Roseline Silvia, Dauda Idris, Samaila B. Mamman while the representatives of banks at the meeting included: Atinuke Sayo-Adeyemi (Access Bank), Alero Bola-Pelemo (FCMB), Fatima Garba (Fidelity Bank), ChiChi Alek (Heritage Bank), Arerepade Akagwu (UBA), Soibiye Iketubosin (Zenith Bank) and Sheriff Mohammad Ibrahim (Yobe Micro Finance Bank).

Updates released by stakeholders

A document released after yesterday’s meeting showed that Fidelity Bank registered 104,596, verified 96,413 and paid 92,394 participants. UBA registered 100,800, verified 87,427 and paid 73,531. Heritage Bank registered 102,000, verified 84,620 and paid 61,800. Zenith Bank registered 92,700, verified 65,824 and paid 58,732. Access Bank registered 105,000; verified 62,733 and paid 58,638. FCMB registered 118,209; verified 50,083 and paid 32,696 while Yobe Microfinance Bank registered 16,642; verified 16,642 and paid 16,642.